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. Name USMC jarhead

    Such a whiner! She is and has been toast for a long time and will be lucky to keep her job. Yuk

    November 13, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Steve/Oklahoma

    Bachman has nothing intelligent to say about any subject.

    November 13, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Zebulon Pi

    Hey! I'm not running at all, and I didn't get asked ANY questions! Obviously biased, fire them all!!!

    This woman will take any opportunity to get free press, which is ironic, given the fact that she's ALSO claiming that they're all biased against her.

    The AMERICAN PEOPLE are biased against you, sweetie. Go pray the bias away, that'll help.

    November 13, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. John B

    Maybe get a clue? You're wasting everyone's time.

    November 13, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. Bill

    Pelly is as big a liar as the rest of CBS officials.

    November 13, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. rickinmo

    What's Bachman complaining about? This is the FREE MARKET at work. The network wants viewers because that's how they generate advertising dollars. Do you get viewers by interviewing a TOP-TIER Candidate or do you interview the NEVER-RAN. The answer is clear. More people want to hear from someone who actually has a chance at the nomination. The FREE MARKET decides who gets the questions and the interview. So, what's the problem?

    November 13, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  7. Tom

    While embarrassing to CBS, this is reality. She really is losing big time in the REPUBLICAN polls and unless Romney's, Cain's, Perry's and Paul's Kenya birth certificates surface, her run is over.

    November 13, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. Claire

    You're a repub there is no such thing as bias. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stop whining. If you don't get asked as many questions as the others, it's your own fault.

    November 13, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Biologyguy

    Media bias? This has nothing to do with what we typically call media bias. This is just American. Americans love a winner. The polling numbers don't lie. We don't care what she has to say. She does not deserve the air time.

    November 13, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. Stephen

    Even with Bachmann polling at only 5%, she was given much more speaking time than 3rd place candidate Ron Paul. Ron Paul was given 89 seconds of speaking time in the 1 hour televised debate. This is truly pathetic and shows us how strongly mainstream media like CBS are biased and lean toward advocacy journalism instead of giving people an honest reporting.

    November 13, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  11. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    She never had a chance to win in a general election and her numbers WERE in the low single digits (WITHIN HER OWN PARTY).
    Having said that, this looks pretty bad... Like the OLD joke about the crazy man at the asylum, she may be crazy (and I think she is), but she's not stupid. Fairness would dictate that she get questions and be allowed to sabotage her own chances, not have that chance taken over by others.

    November 13, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. Joe

    Bachmann needs to understand that her candidacy isn't being taken seriously either by the general electorate nor the Republican Party. It's time she just quit the race and go back to representing the people of Minnesota.

    November 13, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Kate

    oh michelle go home you are clearly creepy crazy

    November 13, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. CanadaOne

    Watched the debate – OUCH!! – how stupid can they get. Total IQ is 58

    If any of these guys get in – the USA will be at war within six months.

    With all the nuclear wepons out there it will be the BIG END! – if the gop get in the world will turn against the USA – even your best friends!


    November 13, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Tim NYC

    she's waste of time!

    OBAMA 2012!!!

    November 13, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. mfx3

    Is not getting votes an example of voter bias? The media has a responsibility to the voting public to ask hard questions of candidates likely to get nominated...she does not fit that bill. Why waste time asking questions of someone we could care less about?

    November 13, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. a in austin

    She should feel fortunate she got a podium to stand at – Gary Johnson didn't. Michelle should hang it up and get back to earning her federal paycheck.

    November 13, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. dave

    Seeing how she typically screws up her answers and makes major gaffes, they are in reality trying to do her a favor.

    November 13, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. Palin 2112

    This s clearly media bias and discrimination against Bachman. The American people should DEMAND that ALL crazy people are treated the same.

    November 13, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. NoGOP12

    CBS did her a favor

    November 13, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. GOP Hate America

    no one is interested in what your christian inbreed @$$ has to say.

    November 13, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Mike

    It's obviously because she's irrelevant–just like most of the candidates. She had her time in the spotlight but couldn't hold on to it. So, why waste time on her? You look at most of them and wonder, "Why are you still in this? You don't have a chance."

    November 13, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. Annie, Atlanta

    She's a politician. Doesn't she know how the game is played yet, having played it for many years? Look at your poll numbers Michele, then tell us why you should even be on that stage at all. You like the game as long as it works in your favor, and scream foul when it doesn't.

    Then when you do get to open your mouth, you tell us we need to be more like Communist China. Stop the handouts, she says. How many handouts has your husband's clinic received, Michele. How about your salary, benefits, and travel expenses, as well as paying for that staff of yours that you can't seem to keep on board. The hypocrisy, it burns.

    November 13, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. antleader

    Michelle, you need to have something intellegent to say, instead of half truths and mixed up thinking. I don't understand how you were elected to congress much less the presidency. You brought your own bias on yourself!

    November 13, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. dave

    Potty mouth, Ms. Bachman's campaign manager makes the baby Jesus cry

    November 13, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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