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. Jilli

    Cripes, the woman is polling in the single digits – she is not, nor was she ever a serious presidential candidate. No bias, just reality.

    November 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. bachmanntwit

    Her hair looks better in the photo. But she's still a whackjob.

    November 13, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Mike in Tennessee

    I guess the question I have for Bachmann is this: "Are you advocating that, in the later Presidential debates, the Dems and Repubs should stop excluding the wealth of Independent candidates from these two-party debates because the Independents are much further behind in the polls?"

    November 13, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Mark

    Boo hoo Bachmann. (sung to the tune bye bye blackbird)

    November 13, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Dave Harris

    The evil liberal media is biased against her because it won't give equal time to a joke candidate? I can just hear her squawk, "I'm a victim, too!" She's lucky they even let her in the door.

    November 13, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Bart

    Media bias? It's called Capitalism, idiot. People do not really care about what you have to say because you are unelectable. I thought you liked Capitalism. Sounds like she wants socialized media.

    November 13, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Michelle - if your hubby can pray away the gay, get him to pray away the bias. Same thing.

    November 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Kat

    CBS could have given her an entire hour to talk, and it wouldn't have changed a thing. She's not a contender in this race, never was, never will be. If anything, they did her a favor. If she had been given the time to spew more ignorance, she'd be polling at 2% now.

    November 13, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Son Of Man

    For those that think this about Michelle, wake up. This is about CBS playing "kingmaker" and deciding for you who your going to become attached to, who your going to vote for based on "brand recognition." This is a real problem! I don't like MB, but she had tangible evidence that this game is rigged. You and I deserve better than that! We deserve to make our own decisions. This is no longer acceptable. You're seeing all of the debates now where you never did before because television has to fight harder against the internet, and this is how they do it. You are not to make decisions for yourselves. That's what they're paid to do. It's time to stand up and stop being herded around like fools.

    November 13, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Dreamer96

    Bachmann cries "bias", while everyone else cries "batty"

    November 13, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. steven harnack

    Their show, their rules. If she doesn't like it she can refuse the free air time.

    November 13, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. TheAlaskaCurmudgeon

    Let her speak. We need the entertainment,

    November 13, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Rocco

    Bachmann scares the bejeebus out of me, but she has a reasonable point here. If the media base their coverage, questions, etc. on polling numbers they artificially handicap candidates who aren't polling well at the moment. Last time I checked, the voters are supposed to get equal access to all candidates, and make their choice on election day. Too often the modern media sway public opinion by assuming a role larger than they should. With all that said, I hope Obama wins reelection, and Huntsman is the only R candidate that doesn't frighten me.

    November 13, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. CR from CA

    When you are irrelevant how can you expect equal air time? Get over yourself Michelle, your 15 minutes was over half an hour ago.

    November 13, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. yneemee

    The media devotes more air time to Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, and Jersey Shores than to the American people to assist us in choosing the next potential leader of the USA.

    Gosh, it's good to be an Amerikan

    November 13, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    She has nothing to say worthwhile anyway. The media knows this and so do most sane Americans.

    November 13, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. AlaskaPalin

    Liberals need to look at fox and turn away from net works that are having this hypnotic effect even brain washing you. Your postings all show that your hatred for good people (michele) have made you berserkly incoherent. Fox is fair and very balanced. It gives obama a fair shake and criticizes the gop candidates when it needs to. If there's a bias it can be said that its pro america. Liberals need to turn away from the left wing networks with their mantra of 'obama is great' and turn to fox and its intelligent discourse on the issues that will stimulate your dormant intellect.
    Stop the hate.

    November 13, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Gemini Girl

    Always the bridesmaid – er – whiner, never the bride – er – legitimate candidate.

    November 13, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. United States of Corporations

    CNN is just as bad as CBS. No where in this article does it point out that Ron Paul is furious too. He has won more straw polls than any other candidate and currently ranks third in national polls, yet he was only asked 1 question and given 90 seconds of air time.

    We can save a tremendous amount of time and money if you just told us who our next president was instead of parading candidates around as if we had a choice...

    November 13, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Maya

    She'd be better off if she talked less. They were doing her a favor. Each time that woman opens her mouth, I can feel brain cells dying.

    November 13, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. macallen23

    Wow. Her campaign manager sounds like a truly mature, focused leader. I can't understand why her campaign is struggling.
    The real question is who are the 4% who believe she'a the best candidate? Good God.

    November 13, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Mindie in Indie

    Maybe because we already know what Bachman has to say....and the country is rejecting her just like the country is rejecting all of these GOP clowns. None of them are going to win over Obama, so deal with it

    November 13, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. hjs3


    A very "me" centric poltician who never seems to take a day off playing the victim card.....

    November 13, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Martino- TORONTO CANADA

    Why would CBS want to waste precious air time on Bachmann,.. she has nothing new or intelligent to offer,.. she never answers a question directly,.. and people are sick and tired of her mantra,.." it's Obama's fault,.. and Obama care."

    November 13, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Emmy Skaddittle

    whatever, isnt it time for her to drop out yet

    November 13, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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