The phrase “under the bus”—as in, to throw someone under the bus, or betray them—has long been a favorite on Top Chef and other reality-competition shows. (“Marcel totally threw me under the bus at Judges’ Table. He should be the one going home this week—did you taste his lobster foam?!”) But this week, thanks to the Ideological-Differences-Turned-Interpersonal-Drama that was the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright story, the phrase went into politics…via the Pack Diction of television campaign coverage.
According to the television-transcript database TV Eyes, here’s the number of instances the phrase “under the bus” was used in TV news coverage over the past week. Not that it’s related, or anything, but Monday was the day the Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave his speech at the National Press Club, and Tuesday was the day Obama gave his speech “denouncing” Wright’s rhetoric.
Friday, April 25: 0
Saturday, April 26: 0
Sunday, April 27: 0
Monday, April 28: 54
Tuesday, April 29: 89
Wednesday, April 30: 20
Thursday, May 1: 0
Sorry, “under the bus.” Looks like your fifteen minutes of political fame are petering out. Time to go back to reality.
And by “reality,” we mean reality TV.Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.