Nov
14
2011

Michele Bachmann and Made-Up Media Bias

The Michele Bachmann presidential campaign–formerly treated as atop-tier juggernaut by Beltway media–has been floundering for weeks. Which makes right now as good a time as any for them to grab some headlines by shouting about liberal media bias. The Bachmann campaign was furious about email correspondence concerning a possible Bachmann appearance on a CBS Web show after the Saturday night debate. The network's political director, John Dickerson, was lukewarm on the idea, mentioning that Bachmann's poll numbers are quite low and that she wasn't likely to be much of a factor in the debate. Even though Dickerson is correct, these […]

Sep
09
2011

The Fading Bachmann 'Momentum'

It seems like just yesterday that Michele Bachmann was in the "top tier," thanks to her narrow victory in the mostly meaningless Iowa straw poll. She had "momentum." Then came this week's debate and, well, things are looking different. As the Washington Post described the scene at the debate: Meanwhile, any momentum that Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), who won the Iowa straw poll in August, may have had from that victory has been extinguished by Perry. The debates have been a forum in which Bachmann has shone, but she was sidelined on Wednesday night. She was not asked a question […]

Aug
29
2011

Ron Paul in the Post–by the Numbers

Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton dedicated his column this weekend (8/29/11) to addressing complaints about the skimpy coverage of Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. It's hard to argue with the numbers he's gathered: Still, the Post's coverage of Paul looks thin compared with its stories on Bachmann. In the past six months, the Post has published online or in print 34 staff-written stories plus 12 wire service stories on Bachmann, who has served not even five years in the House, and that doesn't count the blog posts about her on the Fix or Glenn Kessler's Fact Checker pieces. The Post […]

Aug
26
2011

Ron Paul Top Tier Shakeup!

There is little reason to care about what the polls say right now about who's leading in the Republican presidential nomination. But the media obviously think otherwise, hence this headline in the Washington Post yesterday (8/25/11): Romney Loses GOP Front-Runner Status The "news" is that Rick Perry is leading in a new Gallup Poll. But read a little further: The survey showed Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) at 13 percent and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) slipping to 10 percent. No other candidate registered in the double digits. So this means Paul's in the "top tier" now, right? This is a good […]

Aug
16
2011

If Bachmann Is Gasping for Media Oxygen, What Do You Say About Ron Paul?

One of the strangest comments post- Iowa straw poll came from reporter Kelly O'Donnell on NBC Nightly News (8/14/11): Both Pawlenty's exit and Perry's launch consumed political oxygen that typically would have gone to the straw poll's actual winner, Congresswoman Bachmann, who appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows, including Meet the Press. I'm having trouble imagining how someone could put those two thoughts together. Bachmann was merely on five national TV shows Sunday morning. That's being overshadowed? If that's oxygen deprivation, one has to wonder what you'd call the media treatment of Ron Paul, who finished one percentage […]

Aug
08
2011

Michele Bachmann: Covers Vs. Coverage

The right is apparently up in arms over this photo of Michele Bachmann that appears on the cover of this week's Newsweek: If someone wants to say this is an unflattering picture, fine. But Bachmann's supporters are unlikely to find much in Lois Romano's article to complain about. On the campaign trail, Bachmann's "simple, black-and-white distillations of complex problems are cheered as refreshing and tough." A campaign speech is a "folksy assault on a bloated federal government." Explaining Bachmann's apparent surge, Romano writes: Just months ago, Bachmann was the butt of jokes on late-night TV for her flawed grasp of […]

Jul
29
2011

Where Does Press Set Bar for Bachmann?

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote a rather apoplectic column about presidential candidate Michele Bachmann this week, lamenting the fact that other GOP candidates aren't calling her out for being completely ill-prepared for the job: Bachmann does not deserve to be in the presidential race. Legislatively, she has done little, she knows next to nothing and what she thinks she knows is wrong. He also called her "an ignoramus" and "a bigot when it comes to gays." Straight news coverage obviously isn't going to put things like that. But what's remarkable is how reporters seem to give Bachmann credit for […]

Jun
17
2011

Time Magazine Feeds the Bachmann-tum

The story of Michele Bachmann's surging campaign momentum continues, this time courtesy of Beltway reporter Mark Halperin of Time magazine: Why has Michele Bachmann suddenly become the It candidate? With her impressive New Hampshire debate performance, Bachmann has gone from a conservative Sarah Palin-lite curiosity to a potential game changer. For two hours onstage with her GOP rivals, Bachmann appeared polished, serene and in command. Her smooth performance was partly the work of a top-shelf team of veteran advisers (manager Ed Rollins, pollster Ed Goeas, forensic coach Brett O'Donnell). They sanded down some of her rough edges but let Bachmann […]

Jun
15
2011

Bachmann Comes Across as Less of a Nut–Thanks to Some Tactful Editing

The emerging storyline after the Republican presidential debate this week was that far-right Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is for real, mostly because she managed to sound, well, a little less crazy than she's sounded before. (No, they didn't quite put it like that.) There are stories about Bachmann's new Bach-mentum in the New York Times (6/15/11), the Washington Post (6/14/11) and USA Today (6/15/11). Let's take the Times' lead: The key question for Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota before the Republican debate on Monday night was whether she could appeal to voters beyond the Tea Party wing that she helped […]

Jan
26
2011

After Obama, CNN's Right-Wing Double Dip

It's normal for the opposition party to deliver a rebuttal address to the State of the Union. Last night Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was given that responsibility. But further-to-the-right Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota delivered the "Tea Party" response to the State of the Union, which was initially scheduled to air on the Tea Party Express website. That is, until CNN decided it would air it on television. Which meant, as Washington Monthly's Steve Benenput it, CNN broadcast "the president's address, followed by a speech by a far-right Republican, and then followed by another speech by a different far-right […]

Apr
01
2010

Will Face the Nation Factcheck Guest's Healthcare Lies?

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann made two false claims about healthcare on CBS's Face the Nation last Sunday that went unchallenged by host Bob Schieffer. CBS did, however, post an article on their website challenging her claims. FAIR has a new action alert encouraging Face the Nation to debunk Bachmann's lies on its upcoming April 4 broadcast. Read the alert here and post your letters to CBS below.

Mar
31
2010

Fox News Commentators Find 'Common Ground' in Praising Fox News

One of USA Today's regular op-ed features is a "right-left" conversation between conservative columnist Cal Thomas and "liberal" Democratic strategist Bob Beckel in which they seek "Common Ground"–the name of the op-ed feature–on "issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot." Last week (3/25/10) Thomas and Beckel tackled the issue of "Bias and Fox News"–and really, what could be a better subject of debate for two paid Fox News commentators? Incredibly, they were able to overcome their great differences to defend the network that pays their bills. Some of the highlights: Cal: What the Obama administration and Raines and many at the […]

Dec
08
2009

GOP: Sauce for the Goose Is Terrible for the Gander

We've noted the corporate media's double standard on Nazi analogies: When conservatives are compared to the Third Reich, however obscurely, it's an outrageous slur, but when leaders of the right charge progressives with Hitler-like tendencies, it's unremarkable political rhetoric. Political Animal's Steve Benen (12/8/09) rounds up some similar examples of criticisms that are outrageous when applied by the left to the right, but no big deal when they go the other way–starting with the manufactured controversy over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's likening Republican foot-dragging over healthcare reform to conservatives' lack of urgency over women's suffrage and ending slavery: If […]