I never heard the phrase till 2004. 
I was accused of doing that to a guy that, after I looked up the definition of the phrase, was one, who actually, was the "king" at doing that to others and to especially me, as he tried deflecting blame from himself to putting in on the most convenient  acceptable goat available. 

Having a perspective of things, afford the one who has it to see things from a circumspect full point of view, that could only be seen, differentiating from those who have never seen from that perspective.
I do not sit around "wah-wahhing" poor little ole me "they are picking on me"...
But I have spent the majority of my life being thrown under the bus or being blamed for things for convenience sake. 
There have been innuendos and lies and accusations and surmising that I have been accused of by people even back to my childhood that were actually trying to shine a light on something else other than themselves, for, is that not the reason why someone would throw somebody under the bus?
There are a couple of advantages to spending the majority of time ridding underneath the bus. I "am" still on the bus, but being the object of the one being thrown under the bus so much, I was always so fretful and became "gun-shy", I guess I just decided to be content in that state that I kept finding myself. 
One advantage I have discovered; I don't much worry about being thrown under the bus anymore, but those that do "throw people under the bus" will always be paranoid about it happening to themselves.
And the second advantage is; 
I have noticed, tho, the fact that, this is solely an act of "self preservation" - selfishness, they WILL throw the very closest of friends under if need be, but generally they wont throw those who mean much to them, but those they consider "least esteemed" who they value the least. 
So, being considered the least esteemed, Can differentiate the real people from the fake. 
Fake people and those who have agendas and throw people under the bus don't care what insignificant people think of them. So it does not matter to them, that irrelevant people see the ugly side of themselves.
Their only concern is about looking "pretty" to those they consider relevant people. 
But the real people treat you the same and are the same all the time they are not only about themselves, "selflessness".
This little saying here is something I found in a notebook my sister wrote in, back in 1970 when she was a 17 year old runaway. 
"Discrediting others shows the insecurity of the discrediter.
It displays qualities of immorality and conceit and self centeredness."
And because of this insecurity they bully,  threaten, allege and accuse, to pull others down beneath themselves therefore seeming to be better and stronger to others who are impressed by people who are better and stronger than " lessers". Both these kind of people I have observed seem to extol arrogance as a strength, a virtue, thereby disparaging humility,  as a deplorable weakness.
...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks...
This quote is from an old Western I remember...
A Woman says:  "You better be careful. You're a man who makes people afraid, and that's dangerous."
The stranger says:   "It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid."
Luke 6:45
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Could it be maybe that the accuser is the one that has the problem they are accusing you of? ...

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