As part of a larger far-right condemnation of the Occupy Wall Street protests, Rush Limbaugh told listeners last week, “George Soros money is behind this.” It was the latest in a series of eye-rolling moments — the right uses Soros as a boogeyman for everything that upsets them, so it stands to reason Limbaugh would imagine some grand conspiracy involving the financier.

But while it’s easy to laugh off absurdities on right-wing radio, it’s startling when major news organizations echo the same arguments. Reuters, generally a legitimate news outlet, ran this piece today on the demonstrations.

Anti-Wall Street protesters say the rich are getting richer while average Americans suffer, but the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world’s richest men.

There has been much speculation over who is financing the disparate protest, which has spread to cities across America and lasted nearly four weeks. One name that keeps coming up is investor George Soros, who in September debuted in the top 10 list of wealthiest Americans. Conservative critics contend the movement is a Trojan horse for a secret Soros agenda.

Soros and the protesters deny any connection. But Reuters did find indirect financial links between Soros and Adbusters, an anti-capitalist group in Canada which started the protests with an inventive marketing campaign aimed at sparking an Arab Spring type uprising against Wall Street.

I read this trying to be open-minded. Reuters found “links” that somehow connect Soros to the protests? Fine, I’m always willing to consider evidence in good faith.

So, here’s what Reuters came up with: Soros heads the Open Society Foundation; the foundation has given financial support to the Tides Center; the Tides Center has provided financial support to many non-profit organizations; one of those non-profit organizations that received a rather modest sum is a Canadian group called Adbusters; and Adbusters has helped organize OWS protests.

Ergo, Soros is “linked,” and it makes sense for Reuters to suggest the financier might be “behind the Wall St. protests.”

If you’re inclined to think Glenn Beck’s chalkboard offers reliable, credible information, maybe this Reuters piece makes sense. If you’re well-grounded, the Reuters piece appears to be nuts.

The same article, by the way, tries to bolster its observation by telling readers that Soros and the protesters “share some ideological ground.” Yes, as do most Americans, according to the latest polls.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.