Spartanburg, South Carolina (CNN) - Michele Bachmann accused CBS News of 'media bias' Saturday night after her campaign was included on an email chain that suggested she would get fewer questions than other candidates in a debate co-sponsored by the network and National Journal.
"I think it's only respectful to allow the candidates to be able to speak and not intentionally ahead of time make a decision to limit candidates' opportunity to speak to the American people," the Minnesota congresswoman said after the debate, which was held in South Carolina. "Clearly this was an example of media bias."
In the email chain, a CBS employee notified CBS News political director John Dickerson that Bachmann's spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, had volunteered the candidate for an interview on Dickerson's post-debate webcast. The employee copied Stewart on the email and told Dickerson that she had been cc'd.
Dickerson replied, apparently unaware that Stewart was on the email chain.
"Okay let's keep it loose though since she's not going to get many questions and she's nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else," he wrote.
Bachmann's campaign sent the email chain after the debate, claiming it suggested planned bias at the debate.
The congresswoman, who's now registering in the single digits in national polls, was not asked as many questions as the front-runners in the race.
Furious with Dickerson's response, Bachmann's campaign manager Keith Nahigian stormed through the spin room, where he said, "John Dickerson should be fired. He is a piece of shit. He is a fraud and he should be fired."
But in a statement obtained by CNN, the news network described the email chain as a "candid exchange."
"It was a candid exchange about the reality of the circumstances–Bachmann remains at 4% in the polls," said a CBS News spokesperson.
Dickerson agreed, saying "Bachmann is at 4 percent in the polls and has been for a while."
He added: "Other candidates aren't. I sent an email based on that."
Asked about claims of bias, debate moderator and CBS "Evening News" host Scott Pelley said he didn't know about the chain but that he and co-host Major Garrett of National Journal tried to be fair with time to all the candidates.