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. Slash

    I hate to say it, but...everyone should have gotten the same questions and the same amount of time to answer them. Then these idiots could humiliate themselves with their ignorance in a more fair and balanced manner.

    Huntsman should feel shafted, too. He's the only intelligent one of them and he's constantly ignored. A republican against torture is one I MIGHT consider voting for.

    November 13, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. david

    If the opinion is that she is a non-entity, it isn't bias if they want to hear from those that are relevent. It is called common sense.

    November 13, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. ljhay

    CBS was just trying to help her avoid making more stupid comments.

    November 13, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Timetraveler

    When will this idi0t take a hint and do away? She's done as a candidate. She's not wanted.

    November 13, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. twophad

    Reality and candor are always "bias" to the Righties

    November 13, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Tony

    Unfortunately for Bachmann, any competition, unless it is rigged, is biased against people who are not competitive.

    November 13, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. egb2

    Perhaps she got fewer questions because she never answers them anyway, and opts instead to give a canned soundbite. No wonder her poll numbers stink.

    November 13, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. MeatyPortion

    Haha, I love hearing about Bachmann's "problems". I can't wait until she gets completely ignored with 3% and will then cry about it until election day.

    November 13, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. conandoyle

    She's losing, and – true to Con form – it's somebody else's fault.

    November 13, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. jb1963

    She should be thankful that don't ask her many questions. She can't answer them anyway. Besides. There would be too much material the comedians would not know what to use. The shows would have to be expanded to give more time to the monologs. With the amount of crap coming from the right every time they speak the comedians can do an hour long monolog and forget having guests on the show. Unless of course the guests are the candidates.

    November 13, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Robin Bray

    She also forgot to use the "liberal media" line. A favorite of those who have no chance to explain away their own failures.

    November 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Beth

    Didn't your parents ever tell you that life isn't fair....we live in a democracy not a socialist society. We all don't share equally===I thought that democracy is what Michele wanted?!

    November 13, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. Thinkers Unite

    The American people are pretty tired of hearing what the polls say as though that has actually picked the president
    hopeful. Let's see the real numbers in 60 days. Personally I am still undecided and would appreciate hearing from all candidates equally to better make an informed decision not a media decision.

    November 13, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. JMO

    This is sad to see so many apologists for the ridiculously one-sided debates that are hosted. Even if you don't like what she has to say, she is still a candidate, and should be afforded an equal amount of time to air her views, regardless of how crazy they may be. If CBS and other media outlets are going to bother this charade, here's an idea – ask all of the candidates the SAME questions and give them thirty seconds each to answer those questions. After this initial period, allow for some debate amongst the candidates. Repeat this process for the series of the same questions. Why is it too much to ask for a fair and honest debate? I don't have a problem with the moderators choosing to exclude candidates based upon their popular support at some point in the process, but I do have a problem with cherry picked questions and unbalanced coverage. It bothers me that so many of you out there apparently do not, simply because you do not agree with the candidates' positions.

    November 13, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. MaryM

    Bye Bye bachmann

    November 13, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. NVa Native

    Pitiful display of weak character – from all of the GOPs.

    Come on 2012 – Obama has so much more to do.

    November 13, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Bob F.

    So she's mad when the media "pick on" her and now she's mad when the media try to lay off her. She knows that she gets attention when she's mad, just like a little kid who wants candy at the grocery store. Tantrums get attention. She's just a Sarah Palin clone, maybe not as smart as Sarah. Maybe she'll do her "Sarah imitation" and just go away.

    November 13, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. David

    If the media was left-wing biased, wouldn't they want to promote those Republicans who have less of a chance against Obama – like Bachmann??? Let's face the truth – the media's primary interest has been and continues to be exposing the facts. And the facts happen to be that the center of right-wing ideology boils down to one central characteristic – GREED. Their professed love of God is the most prevalent diversion tactic perhaps in all of history.

    November 13, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Milhouse

    She wants a socialist news agency where every one gets the same amount no matter what they earn. Right wingers can really be commies when they don't get their way.

    November 13, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. pccel

    Surely, Bachmann realizes she does not have a snowball 's chance in hell of advancing; I much prefer to hear from those candidates who may actually make it to the general election. It's time for all those <5% in the polls to exit; she brings up the same points in evey debate and cannot make it thru a paragraph without critizing Obama; I already know that she wants to defeat Obama and is against almost anything he has done, but when she takes so much time for such comments, we don't get to hear what her views are on the topic at hand. Her favorite comment is that she won the Iowa poll; Michelle, that is history.

    November 13, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. chmch

    Ms Bachman has contribute nothing to this process except her narrow bias of the world she wants to live in, although based on her numbers, not many other people do.

    November 13, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Laurie

    I am not a Bachmann fan. In fact I'm not a fan of any of these candidates. Nevertheless, I think she is right – each candidate should be given the same amount of time to speak at the debates.

    November 13, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. dan0nline

    I'm glad it's bachmann fighting the bias instead of Paul. Ron Paul's message is a light to this whole mess and he's only followed it up by his integrity without aggressively sneering at the heavy bias that he's gotten from day 1. If Bachmann is going to be heard on this matter people may see there is way more going on with this "bias" than just the scheduled air time.

    November 13, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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