Popular opinion is sometimes outraged at an attorney mounting a suspect or even ridiculous argument. Having watched mental health attorneys attempting to defend very unhelpful and unsympathetic clients, I am less bothered. They have to say something. If they had a better argument, they'd use it. (When an activist attorney has a stupid idea - and a wealthy or powerful institution as a target - and then goes looking for a client to use it on I have less sympathy.)
It is similarly true about PR representatives of a person or organisation caught in a scandal or error. They have to say something. "The rescue efforts are going very well." They have to put the best face on this that they can. It's their job. Political organisations responding to the news have a similar task. They can't say nothing. They have to try to change the subject, or reframe the issue, or insist that you can't prove it, or that no one cares about it, or whatever. Yes, it is infuriating, or at least it's infuriating when it's your opponents, but it is also worth paying attention to. If they are coming up with a deceitful or foolish argument, being merely insulting or changing the subject, it's because they haven't got anything better. If they had a good defense they'd use it.
Racist used to be a reasonable good word, a useful descriptor. There might be disagreement at the margins about it, but we knew with tolerable certainty what someone meant when they used it. As it has broadened to mean even ridiculous things now, its use is a signal: the speaker does not have any better argument. If he did, he would use it. And he has to say something, because he can't let your comments or actions just stand. So be of good cheer - it means he has nothing better in the quiver.
We have reached the point where it is fair to quietly point this out. "Your use of that insult is an admission you haven't got any actual arguments. I'm afraid I'll have to consider my statement a point scored, then." I'd like to see it spread.