You would think that a wiley media vet like Jesse Jackson would know better. While wearing a microphone, seated in a Fox News Channel studio, he famously mused about surgically turning the bullish Barack Obama into a steer. The fact that Jackson whispered it indicates that he did know better, but did it anyway. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
The folks at gawker.com have assembled this compilation of such moments.
The majority of them fall into the same category as the Jackson gaffe: Moments recorded backstage while the mic’d talent was off-air. Then, some mischief-maker from within pulled the tape, made it public and now it lives forever. Much more never even gets recorded.
Jackson’s gaffe didn’t get on the air until long after he uttered it. Sometimes, the words fly on-air instantly and irretrievably.
It happens. Cari Champion of WGCL was fired and re-hired (and has since resigned) after uttering an unkind word while wearing a mic last November (she insisted the word was “mothersucka”). Years back, a WSB reporter muttered “fucking assholes” while hooked to a live remote at WSB. He was reacting to some dopey teens who were acting a fool behind him. WSB declined to overreact, and that reporter hasn’t made the mistake since. Jesse Jackson probably won’t either.