Description: Unfairly blaming an unpopular person or group of people for a problem or a person or group that is an easy target for such blame.
Nobody likes or cares about X.
Therefore, X is to blame for Y.
I know I got drunk, slapped the waitress on the behind, then urinated in the parking lot… from inside the restaurant, but that was Satan who had a hold of me.
Explanation: The person is avoiding personal responsibility and blaming “Satan” for his actions. Satan is an easy target — he does not show up to defend himself, and a surprising number of people believe he exists and actually does cause immoral behavior.
The reason New Orleans was hit so hard with the hurricane was because of all the immoral people who live there.
Explanation: This was an actual argument seen in the months that followed hurricane Katrina. Ignoring the validity of the claims being made, the arguer is blaming a natural disaster on a group of people.
Exception: There is no exception when people are being unfairly blamed.
Fun Fact: Scapegoating meets a deep psychological need for justice, or more accurately, the belief that justice has been served.
Douglas, T. (2002). Scapegoats: Transferring Blame. Routledge.