Sounds like this play has been in the books for a long time. It’s in full swing today due to it’s usefulness – though we hope it’s over-usage is diminishing its effectiveness. You can only sling so much mud until it doesn’t stick anymore or folks stop caring. When everyone is covered with mud, who cares anymore?
I’m no baseball fan, but the story of how Ty Cobb’s reputation was ruined is illustrative. If someone has annoyed or angered you, if he’s your enemy in some way, what’s the best way to retaliate? Just smear them in print with invented stories and call him racist. And remember, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
“If a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes accepted as fact.”