Shameless: Right-wing bloggers use rumors Meek was asked to drop out to engage in race-baiting

Blog ››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

With only four days left until the midterm elections, it's no surprise that the conservative media are busy working any angle to paint Democrats in a bad light. But by using a run-of-the-mill election story to level racially charged attacks against Democrats, they continue to prove just how low they'll go.

According to the political rumor mill, President Bill Clinton asked Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race in order to give independent Charlie Crist a better chance to beat Republican Marco Rubio. Meek has denied these claims, saying that that it was actually Crist, not Clinton, who asked him to drop out. Regardless, this is not an uncommon political story. For example, Nevada Republican senatorial candidate Sharron Angle was recently recorded pleading with the tea party candidate in that race to drop out in exchange for access to party bigwigs.

What is unusual, however, is how the right-wing media chose to use this story to make racially charged claims against Clinton. Check out Matt Drudge's take:

That's right: Matt Drudge is suggesting that, if true, Clinton asked Meek to drop out because of his race. He seemingly got this insane attack from RNC chairman Michael Steele, who stated:

President Clinton's actions to have Kendrick Meek withdraw from the campaign sends a chilling signal to all voters, but especially African Americans ... One can only imagine the response if Republican leadership tried to force out of the race - in the 11th hour - a qualified black candidate like Kendrick Meek.

Once the marching orders were out, conservative media went to work. Jim Hoft simply pasted Drudge's link directly into his post and wrote, "Bill Clinton urged black democrat Meek to 'be a hero' and quit." RedState had two separate posts on this; Moe Lane wrote that "they went with the white dude" in the race, and Erick Erickson - who, remember, CNN felt was serious enough to hire as a contributor -- went with "America's First Black President Tries to Push Out Another Black Politician." Not to be outdone, Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade repeated Steele's statement throughout Friday's show.

It's been a pretty bad year for racially charged rhetoric. With a summer full of "bigoted statements" from the tea party movement, Andrew Breitbart's smearing of Shirley Sherrod, and almost too many other incidents to count, it's not really a surprise that the conservative media would inject race into, well, anything, but it never stops being shameful:

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