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. Scott Hampton

    This is what you get when the supreme court lets Corprate america control the political climate
    this is bias and thus why we had laws for equal time for each canidate .
    T.J Holmes needs to report the news and not spew his personel opinion .

    November 13, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  2. edlinn

    She may not go quietly, but at least she is going away !

    November 13, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  3. Tom

    It's official: the Bachmann campaign has now entered "pathetic" territory. Does her manager actually think that anyone in this country wants to hear her speak? Even her husband probably wants her to shut up.

    November 13, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I say let her talk, she will finish herself off in in no time......

    November 13, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  5. Jerry

    Anyone expecting anything else from CBS? The only candidate CBS is not biased against; guess who: our clueless/tourist/spend-drift, blame Bush president!

    America, come 2012, lets not be fooled, again!!!

    November 13, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  6. Iskrenie

    Bad publicity is still publicity. Something tells me this chick LOVES to see herself ridiculed.

    November 13, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  7. MaryM

    Bye Bye Bachmann. Pack it up, you are DONE

    November 13, 2011 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  8. Steve

    You think bias now? Just wait until Romney gets the nomination and his life, family, religion are openly destroyed by the national media. Well except for CNN who will participate not-so-openly.

    November 13, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  9. keven

    Can you say irrelevant ? Boo Hoo

    November 13, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  10. CaptCancun

    Proportional representation... Deal with it Michelle, you should be grateful you get any questions directed to you at all!

    November 13, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  11. Willy Brown

    Why these candidates attend these Obumma loving left wing smear debates is beyond me. The so called TV journalist are nothing more than paid Obumma press core trying to run down and belittle theses people. If I was the candidates on right I’d tell the left wing news media to suck a

    November 13, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  12. livin' the good life

    W-H-A-A-A! I broke a nail. Politics are rough. Get used to it. If you can't handle an email, how can you RUN a country!?

    November 13, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  13. SnotNose

    She should not even be invited to the next debate since she is clearly irrelevant and is only there to promote her post primary agenda of making money ala Palin.

    November 13, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  14. Slick Ric

    The American people deserve to hear all the candidates in equal time. The people running the debate were rude and appeared to be more interested in pitting the panel against each other. The election is a year away: I want to hear them all and don't want some liberal bias nitwit newscaster to decide who I can listen too.

    November 13, 2011 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  15. bill

    Based on this statement by Bachmann she will soon be less than 4% in the polls. People do not want a President who claims 'bias' to explain why they are not performing. But this is the Bachmann process, no solutions, just blaming someone else for the problem.

    November 13, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  16. Paul A.

    I never thought that I'd agree with anything that comes out of Bachmann's mouth (or her campaign); but I actually agree with her that it's unfair for the debate organizers to manipulate the debate in this manner. Besides, the more diversionary time spent on the wacko from MN, the more the world sees how nutsy the Republicans are as a whole, and the better the prospects are for Obama's reelection in 2012!!!

    November 13, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  17. Lenmsith

    When you have nothing else to offer, as Bachmann has nothing to offer, you turn to the media and say that they are not being fair. Why doesn't this woman just go home and start to collect the big money she is hope to make in this run?

    November 13, 2011 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  18. WatchDawg's called irrelevance...

    November 13, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  19. Grog Says

    Poor widdle Michelle.

    November 13, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  20. bill

    Or perhaps they like her and wanted to limit her opportunities to say something stupid...

    November 13, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  21. Audience

    I ll give CBS C- for the last nigh GOP debate-handling. Too strict on time, only selective candidates are promoted, Qs are too easy and the big one "here is your 60min of air time and the reminder you can streamline-watch". CBS why even bother with 1st 60 min on tv if I can watch all of on 90 on Pc?!

    November 13, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  22. John

    That all she know how to do Is Complain and LIE.

    November 13, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  23. Orlop

    I am no fan of Michelle Bachman but if you are a candidate on the ballot in every state you should be afforded the same amount of time during a debate. I saw this happen to Ross Perot during the 1992 election. The media labeled him a kook and ignored him during the debates. I was not a fan of his either but he did have some interesting things to say about our national debt crisis which most at the time laughed at. When it comes to the actual election, it is even worse because the debates are so tightly controlled by a commission. I like the idea of Lincoln-Douglass style debates with no moderator. The media needs to stay neutral and remain just an observer in all this or they become no less than a propaganda machine that selects our candidates and national issues for us. I liked the line in "Citizen Kane" Really Charles, what will the people will think?...what I tell them to think. The question is , right now, who is telling us what to think?

    November 13, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  24. Tom

    Michelle Bachmann should have been out of this race long ago. Completely irrelevant. Hope obviously springs eternal in her campaign manager's eyes, the poor deluded b**tard!

    November 13, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  25. Ronald

    Well, when you irrelevant that is what happens. Maybe you can pray it away?

    November 13, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
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