Mark Levin Friday came to the defense of headline aggregator Matt Drudge, who, last week, took some heated criticism from conservatives for a series of links he posted that suggested Newt Gingrich was not a loyal Reaganite.

Levin, who said he knows Drudge personally and characterizes him as “a good man,” encouraged critics to remember all the good Drudge has done for the country and to allow little annoyances to slide.

“Another friend of mine: Matt Drudge.  I would encourage you to lay off Matt Drudge.  Matt Drudge has done so much good for the country, so much good for journalism,” Levin said. …

“Some days he’s got links on there that are more about one candidate than another – so be it; who cares?  He’s not some…he’s not taking sides in the election; he’s not taking sides in the Republican Party.  I know him extremely well; he’s a good man.”

“And, the mainstream media hates his guts – so, just keep all that in mind.  He provides an enormous service, I think, to us. So, I would just lay off him.”

Levin’s comments come as a refreshing reminder that, among conservatives who care deeply about this election, differences of opinion are often motivated by the same root concerns and desires. None of us want to nominate a Republican who will perpetuate big-government-style policies that render Republicans nothing but Democrats Lite. None of us want four more years of Obama.

Among those whose job it is to curate information about the candidates, the desire typically is to leave no stone unturned so as to prepare the eventual GOP nominee for the general election, in which he will face opposition researchers who don’t share the same values and concerns as conservative voters. The vetting process has been and will continue to be messy, inevitably colored by individual prejudices, unrecognized visceral reactions and the sheer inability to be aware of all the information that’s out there. The advantage to the Internet is that, once a bit of info is out there, anybody and everybody is free to respond — and does. That’s what happened in the case of “The Drudge Distort” of Newt Gingrich, as upset critics called it. In the end, something pretty close to the truth emerges — at least for those with eyes to see it.