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People can be jerks. That’s a fact of life.

Sometimes you can read into crummy behavior and draw depressing conclusions about certain groups and institutions, and sometimes it’s just someone acting alone.

The following story is about someone acting alone, despite attempts by some in the press to make it into a bigger thing about the GOP and even President Trump.

Here’s what happened: A non-student handed out a foul, Nazi-themed Valentine’s Day card earlier this week at a Central Michigan University College Republicans event. The card read, “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews,” and it included a picture of Adolf Hitler.

The card was not written or condoned by anyone in that College Republicans group. This cannot be emphasized enough. It came from a non-student who apparently thought she was being funny.

“Unfortunately, a very inappropriate card was placed into a bag without other members’ knowledge,” said the College Republicans on Feb. 8 in a Facebook post. “We in no way condone this type of rhetoric or anti-Semitism. We apologize for any offense, and want students to know that we do not tolerate this sort of behavior.”

The card, which, again, was written by a visitor, caught the attention several newsrooms. Unfortunately for the Central Michigan University College Republicans, few reporters avoided implicating them in their news coverage.

“College Republican club apologizes for handing out a joke Hitler-themed Valentine’s card which mocks the Holocaust,” read an extraordinarily misleading Feb. 9 Daily Mail headline.

The Associated Press went with, “College Republicans sorry for Hitler-themed Valentine’s card.”

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“University apologizes ‘with heavy hearts and great embarrassment’ for Hitler Valentine’s Day card,” read a Washington Post headline.

The Post subhead added, “‘My love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews,’ read the card handed to two students by a member of the College Republicans group at Central Michigan University.”

“College Republicans Apologize For Handing Out Hitler-Themed Valentine’s Card,” read a Talking Points Memo headline published that same day.

Conspicuously absent from these headlines are clear mentions of the fact that the College Republicans had long before denied any involvement in the card.

The press’ reaction on social media to the story was about as frantic as you’d expect.

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“Is it just me or has Trump’s election made anti-Semitism acceptable among Republicans?” asked the New Republic’s Jeet Heer.

ESPN’s Sarah Spain asked, “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F— IS GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY?????????”

“This Hitler Valentine’s Day card was handed out at Central Michigan University – by a ‘College Republicans’ group,” said CBS’ Lauren O’Neil.

NPR’s Matt Katz added, “The anti-Semitic bigots in the College Republicans even got the number wrong.”

The university’s president, George Ross, released a statement on the incident, condemning it in no uncertain terms and stressing that no students were actually involved.

“The grossly offensive action of one individual, a nonstudent, has deeply distressed our campus community and others across the nation,” he said. “With heavy hearts and great embarrassment, we apologize. To those of Jewish descent, rest assured that we stand with you and vow to continue the effort to educate others.”

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