The dangers of hot mics: Donald Trump isn't the first

Donald Trump isn’t the first big name to get caught saying something when he thought his mic was off.

In leaked captured video from 2005, Trump used lewd language discussing women with Billy Bush before making a cameo appearance on a soap opera.

Other famous figures have also fallen victim to the hot mic.

  • President Ronald Reagan was caught joking during a 1984 sound check before address the United States. His radio comments were later leaked unbeknownst to him.“My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
  • President George W. Bush was caught during his campaign in 2000 referring to New York Times reporter Adam Clymer as a “major-league asshole.” Dick Cheney, Bush’s running mate at the time, agreed responding, “Oh yeah, big time.” Bush later apologized and said he regretted that the American people heard his comments.
  • Prince Charles was doing a photo call with his two sons and was oblivious to the fact the microphone picked up all of his words. He said, "I hate doing this ... I hate these people." He was then caught talking about BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell saying, "Bloody people. I can't bear that man. He's so awful, he really is."
  • In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden was caught whispering “This is a big f---ing deal” to President Barack Obama during a health care reform announcement. 
  • And in 2011, Obama slipped up while speaking with Nicolas Sarkozy. He was overheard talking about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the G20 summit. Sarkozy reportedly said, "I can't stand him. He's a liar.” While President Obama responded, “You’re tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day.” 

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center, believes the media takes advantage of the hot mic.

“The hot mic is just one more tool the media use to protect their friends and target their enemies,” he said. “NBC worked with Trump for 11 years. There were no news stories about Trump's off-color and crude comments. It did everything it could to protect him -- both in news and entertainment. He, and indirectly Billy Bush, became targets because he ran a political campaign wildly opposed by network reporters, producers and anchors…If you are liberal, it won't likely impact you for long. If you are to the right of the media covering the story, it will haunt you forever.”

Joe Trippi, Democratic strategist, said political figures need to be wary of the dangers of a microphone gaffe.

"Or even a unidirectional mic like the one Howard Dean used that made the scream speech possible can help stop a candidacy. Beware the mic!”