Exciting new media angle to Koran-burning story: Pastor went to high school with Rush Limbaugh

Via the Radio Equalizer. Had this meme come from anyone else, I’d assume it was a sly joke on how inane guilt-by-association attacks can be. Turns out, though, that it broke big after being retweeted … by Olbermann. So, oh well.

The Cape Central High School (Missouri) website has the perhaps unsurprising coincidence front and center, noting:

“Rush Limbaugh USED to be Cape Girardeau’s most prominent export. One of his classmates from the Central High School Class of 1969 is dominating the news right now: Terry Jones, the Gainesville, FL, preacher who is threatening to hold an ‘International Burn a Koran Day’ on September 11.”…

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was one of the first to call attention to the Limbaugh/Jones nexus when he posted news of it on Twitter overnight: ” ‘Rev.’ Terry Jones was classmate of none other than Rush Limbaugh (Cape Central class of ’69). Coincidence?”

Among the big-media outlets that have picked up on this thus far: The Washington Post, USA Today, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which at least can claim a local angle. Even conservative Matt Lewis finds it “weirdly secretive” that Limbaugh didn’t mention the connection before. I’m not sure why, though: What ethical issue is raised by failing to disclose that you went to high school with someone 40 years ago? Frankly, given how Limbaugh enjoys baiting the media, I suspect he would have mentioned it had he remembered going to school with Jones. I’m closer to my H.S. years than Rush is and I can’t remember the names of more than four or five classmates; toss in the fact that Jones’s name is extremely common and that he’s no longer located in Missouri and Limbaugh probably blanked on it entirely.

Even so, I’m proud to do my part in circulating this meme, as it serves as a nifty reductio ad absurdum of the sort of media crap that’s routinely tossed at prominent righties to indict them for others’ bad behavior. (Another case in point: Chris Matthews arguing last night on Hardball that Palin’s kinda sorta to blame for Jones’s interest in the Ground Zero mosque even though (a) she publicly called on Jones to stop the Koran-burning, (b) she mentioned the GZM vis-a-vis the Koran-burning only insofar as it’s another example of people having the right to do something they shouldn’t do, and (c) the media made Jones the star he now is precisely because they wanted to connect him to opponents of the GZM.) Exit quotation from Jim Treacher, who’s looking for a little more meat on the guilt-by-assocation bone: “Terry Jones went to school with Rush Limbaugh, which explains it all. Obama sat in Rev. Wright’s church for decades, which explains nothing.”

Update (Ed): You know, I went to high school with actress Lela Rochon (a fact I didn’t know until years after we both had graduated).  By this standard, it either makes me smokin’ hot, or her a pudgy middle-aged conservative writer.  I’d call that a win-win.

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