Bachmann cries 'bias' after Saturday debate
November 12th, 2011
11:16 PM ET
11 years ago

Bachmann cries 'bias' after Saturday debate

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.

Filed under: 2012 • Michele Bachmann
soundoff (348 Responses)
  1. PulTab

    It's always someone else's fault with her. The reason she isn't getting as much time is because she is irrelevant. She has absolutely zero chance of getting the nomination. She is one of the few people in the world who is too stupid to realize it.

    November 13, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Anonymous

    At least Herman Cain didn't call her a PRINCESS !

    November 13, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. mcf

    I didn't see the debate and as much as I hate Bachmann, she may have a valid gripe about this. I'd like to see the actual #s of questions given to each candidate before drawing a conclusion.

    November 13, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. ED FL

    Bachmann gives such idiotic speeches instead of possible solutions or actual knowledge about the questions,it is a wonder they ask her anything.She doesn't even qualify to be there.

    November 13, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. SoSad

    Uh, news to BTO, your not news worthy! Your not a candidate, your not a serious candidate, your MN, joke. Your a Joke, period!

    November 13, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Orchid333

    I don't like Bachmann, but if this is true, then that ain't cool. Everyone deserves a fair shot.

    November 13, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. 1977

    Wow you're still holding onto hope at this point. You're done. Hang it up and please don't EVER try this again.

    November 13, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. bettyboop33

    It is NOT CBS' fault she is doing poorly in the polls. She is NOT presidential at all. She is pro-war and pro-torture yet she is still lagging in the polls. She needs to quit blaming the media and just get over herself, she will never be president.

    November 13, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. Sorensen

    She should be thankful that she even get one question.

    November 13, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. allens

    i think cbs should have been more up front with the bachmann team. they should have just said, she is a fool and has no chance at all of becoming the president. we would rather not waster precious airtime

    November 13, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. WiredweirdoinSF

    CBS, like CNN is a liberally biased organization and like all liberal organizations does not want to hear any type of idea that does not put conservatives and Republicans in a bad light. Democrat liberals are dedicated communists who want to make sure there is no dissenting opinion. They are nothing but union trained thugs.

    November 13, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Robyn

    Ah, the sweet sounds of panic and desperation from Bachmann.

    Perhaps if Mrs. Bachmann wants to be completely heard
    she should say more things that are thoughtful and intelligent,
    and fewer things that are insane and stupid.

    November 13, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. kayley

    CBS obviously targeted four candidates for significantly more time than the rest. Ron Paul was the most-neglected, only receiving 90 seconds of question and comment time. To say they "tried to be fair with time to all the candidates" is laughable ... they decided in advance who the American people would be allowed to hear. The bias was obvious to all, and they apparently even admitted it to Michelle in advance.

    November 13, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Sylvia

    Michele Bachmann for President? Welcome to the Idiocracy.

    November 13, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Eagle Eye

    Michelle Bachman should know that she wouldn't be getting her share of questions because at this time she is not a real contender according to her poll numbers. Only the candidates who poll numbers show that they are close to Obama are the one who will be getting the most questions. Michelle Bachman should know this because this how the game is played.

    November 13, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. CarlJ

    It's not bias. It's a matter of being relevant. Bachman is not, nor has she ever been.

    November 13, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. Robert

    Bachmann would have a considerably larger ranking in the polls if the husbands of her female followers would allow them to put on their shoes, get out of the kitchen, and vote.

    November 13, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Shannon

    always the victim, it should be the Republican motto. Personal responsibility just doesn't exist for these folks.

    November 13, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. ric

    Sure the media is biased. Biased against someone who has no business running for President. Bachman should be water boarded. OBSE = OCCUPY BACHMAN SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS!

    November 13, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. SFC Mike

    "Bias" towards a marginal candidate in a crowded field? Bachmann had a flavor of the month moment months ago and went straight downhill, to the point her campaign is just about personal ego.

    All of the candidates have had months to make a decision to run, raise funds, make appearances and try to generate a meaningfull level of public interest. Bachmann failed, end of story. If anything, there's "bias" in giving attention to candidates who have continually failed to gain any viable public following, at the expense of candidates who have viable campaigns. One of that field will be the Republican nominee for President, and it will not be Bachmann.

    November 13, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. woody

    Get over it and get out.

    November 13, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Ron Paul

    so lets not bring this up when we learned about it. Lets wait for the debate so that we can whine about it after the fact.

    November 13, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. Donna Rode

    Your article on bias at last night's S.C. Debate is laughable. When writing about bias, don't you think it would make you more creidible if YOUR article was unbiased? Ron Paul was treated shamefully last night. He is the ONLY candidate who fully understands foreign policy, and he was allowed only 89 seconds. Shame, shame on all of you. The liberty movement will win this war, and all of you will be out of jobs.

    November 13, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. CTYank

    Stick a fork in her. She's done. She'll be the last to get it. We've wasted enough time on this one.

    November 13, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Brad 5013

    Michele is irrelevant, of, course, but wouldn't it be great to see the race come down to Romney and Gingrich? Imagine the Righteous Right trying to choose between a serial adulterer and a Mormon!

    November 13, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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