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. JameyCarothers

    I wonder why she never complained when she was polling at 25%? Oh yeah- they were throwing questions her way!

    November 13, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. Raffle

    She is Whinney pinney

    November 13, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  3. Marjee123

    So when the media doesn't comply with what she wants there is bias....golly look what they have been doing for her and the rest of the republicans, while ignoring Democrats, for the last twenty years. The media is now, completely owned by conservatives and will continue to do what their corporate masters tell them. Bachmann has no chance for the candidacy they want Cain or Romney and the will slant coverage to those two. Cain because Koch told them to, and Romney because they think he has the best chance of winning cause he isn't as nutty as the rest of the clowns.

    November 13, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. Sadie Boyd

    We are no longer infatuated with her, she needs to step aside and endorse someone.

    November 13, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. 18E

    How "liberal" of Bachamn to complain of bias. Your a Republican, check your sack, man-up, check your boot strapps for your not aloud to make such defensible claims as a member of the GOP party.

    November 13, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. works4me

    It seems as though she is either unwilling or to stupid to get the hint. Go away...

    November 13, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  7. Marion Carll

    While Michelle Bachman is one of the worst candidates to ever run for President, I have agree with her on this issue. Women in general are viewed still as not valid candidates and for the media to not give her the right to answer questions others were given the opportunity to answer based on her percentage ranking is a travesty. When will the media learn to treat all candidates equally and not sway the tide by whom they determine should answer questions. This is outrageous.

    November 13, 2011 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  8. Guitar

    One question never brought up to the 'campaigners' is, if their jobs back at home, (Governors, Senators, Reps, etc) are so important, pressing, and time consuming when they are at those positions, then how are they able to spend so much time away, (over a year) from those jobs while on the campaign trail? Yes, yes, we'll hear, "I am kept constantly abreast of all matters in my state"....blah, blah, blah. It's my contention, that is they're able to run those jobs 'part time' while out away and far from their respective states campaigning, then they should be paid accordingly: with PART-TIME Compensation from their respective states – if at all. Isn’t it vital they are at the office IN their Capitols DAILY for votes, legislation, important matters of state? Guess not!!

    November 13, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. JMO

    That debate has to be one of the worst I have seen in some time. Scott Pelley was rude and argumentative. Bachmann was told she would have a chance to respond, was passed over for another candidate's response, and was not allowed to respond. Ron Paul had about a minute of time to answer questions (this was on the broadcast portion, I can't speak for the online stream – incidentally – who thought THAT was a good idea?). CBSNews should be ashamed of themselves – this debate presentation is one reason I have stopped tuning in to CBS.

    November 13, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. Pat in IL

    Blame it on somebody else....the GOP mantra. Bachman needs to quit wasting time on stupid nit picking like this and try to get back on track with her campaign. Actually, she should just give it up now, before wasting any more time and money. She and her out of control campaign manager need to get a grip on reality.

    November 13, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  11. Rick1948

    How about the reason might be that they devoted the most time to the candidates that have the better chance of winning the nomination.

    November 13, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. Clwyd

    The American public does not want to hear what a crazy lady has to say. Plain and simple!

    November 13, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. Audrey

    She should be grateful when she doesn't speak she can't make stupid statements. She is by far the most pathetic female Candidate ever and it's tough to surpass Palin in this department. However its good to see republicans put forward an astounding number of idiots for prez ,male,female, black and white absolutely no bias in the idiot race.

    November 13, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  14. jack

    As an observer of all of these debates so far, it is very obviuos to me that not only is there an inequality of the amount of questions that the candidates are asked, the same ones are always front and center. So I have to ask, how can I as an undecided voter, consider a candidate if all of the candidates are'nt given the oppurtunity to participate as much as what appears to be a select few?

    November 13, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  15. jokerster

    I saw some of that so called debate...Heard Michele say that the ACLU had control of the CIA????? WHAT??? Where did she get that from, is that some kind of Tea Party joke???? This woman is not a President material....

    November 13, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  16. Patrick O'Donnell

    Tell Michelle that if she can't take the heat to get out of the kitchen. Given her recent poll numbers, very few voters wish to hear from her anyway .

    November 13, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Brons

    This dope has had her fifteen minutes..she was useless here in Minnesota and has been a joke since becoming a candidate..most in America could care less what she has to offer(bordering zero). What she lacks in foreign policy experience she makes up for in stupidity...her claim to fame is the Light Bulb bill....LOL!!

    November 13, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  18. jim

    Well, she's asked question proportionate to her standing in the polls. Besides, she's really got nothing to say. She's shown us all in the past that she's really not on top of things.

    November 13, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  19. A. Lloyd Flanagan

    No, it's an example of voter bias. Even the Republicans have realized she's a nutcase. If the "media" can't use polls to determine who's important, what should they use?

    November 13, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  20. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    For once Crazy Michele is correct. The media should not stand in the way of allowing voters to learn just how insane she is.

    November 13, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  21. Anon

    I don't care for Bachmann, but in all fairness she has a legitimate beef with CBS.

    November 13, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  22. Emmy Skaddittle

    well perhaps the crazy lady from mn. should get more support from the votersbefore she expects to get the same treatment as the leaders

    November 13, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  23. Darryl Schmitz

    Ron Paul, who is consistently polling in double digits (respected polling organizations, not the networks' "pseudo polls") was given a total of 89 seconds of debate time last night. I'd like to know what the CBS bias strategy emails said in planning for that.

    November 13, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  24. catwill

    What did Michele think and she always blame the mainstream media for herlack of good press, grow up!

    November 13, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. Joshua Ludd

    it wouldn't simply be respectful. It would be democratic. It would be fair to voters. But perhaps Bachmann shouldn't focus on the media in this regard so fully... the party does it, too. Also, she should perhaps look at the last couple elections when Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich could hardly ever even get into the debates. Remember when we were told that there simply wasn't enough TIME for all the candidates to be included in the debates of the Democrats? There were about half as many candidates wishing to be included then as are being included for the GOP now, but Kucinich wasn't allowed into the debates. Gee... I wonder what changed. It certainly wasn't the amount of time they had.

    November 13, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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