has a very long and illustrious history.
The term scapegoat, however, has evolved to refer to individuals or peoples who are symbolically or concretely made to bear responsibility for the faults or problems of others. For individuals, scapegoating is a psychological defense mechanism of denial through projecting responsibility and blame on others. It allows the perpetrator to eliminate negative feelings about him or herself and provides a sense of gratification. Furthermore, it justifies the self-righteous discharge of aggression. For the perpetrator, it can provide a firm separation between good and bad. Others describe scapegoaters as insecure, motivated to raise their own status, particularly relative to the target. Having firmly convinced oneself that the other is responsible, it seems only logical to displace punishment as well.Source
Scapegoating is a hostile social - psychological discrediting routine by which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and towards a target person or group. It is also a practice by which angry feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate accusation, towards others. The target feels wrongly persecuted and receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism; he is likely to suffer rejection from those who the perpetrator seeks to influence. Scapegoating has a wide range of focus: from "approved" enemies of very large groups of people down to the scapegoating of individuals by other individuals. Distortion is always a feature.Source
More on the psychodynamics of scapegoating here
The most popular scapegoat for most journalists, bloggers, and interior dialogue legends in their own minds, is of course George W. Bush. Bush hatred is epidemic, and not to participate in Bush hatred is considered the mark of a neocon, another popular scapegoat. If there is any scapegoat more popular than the above, it would be the private oil and coal companies of the western world.
Creative individuals do not waste time on conformist scapegoats such as Bush and the neocons, but then most people are not creative, and are instead compleat conformists. Thus the mob-like nature of Bush hatred. Given the fact that the average world IQ is 90, and declining to 84 by mid-century--this is not a surprise.
Many otherwise intelligent persons indulge in projecting their inner shadows upon political figures such as Bush, with a near complete absence of insight into their own thought processes.
I am reminded of the "joke club" where the members sat in a group, with one occasionally shouting out a number, eg "84!". Everyone would laugh, because they had all heard the jokes so many times there was no need to repeat them. Just refer to them by number. The same type of automaticity is at work in political propaganda, which is what that most political journalism is.
In propaganda, words have magical powers. Imbuing words with a deeper meaning than they deserve, is the job of a propagandist. If he is successful, his audience no longer thinks--it reacts.