Busy Bachmann talks ‘media bias,’ Penn State, waterboarding


Today in Bachmannia: When your poll numbers drop to the level of people who aren’t even invited to debates, you really need someone to blame. Our Gal got the gift of a CBS e-mail she wasn’t supposed to see … and pounced. CNN’s team writes: “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.” The part where Bachmann’s campaign manager stormed into the post-debate spin room to call Dickerson “a piece of [bleep]” will live in campaign infamy.

Jeremy M. Peters’ New York Times story said: “Aides to Mrs. Bachmann, who is polling in the single digits, seized on the e-mail as evidence of liberal bias by CBS News and used the episode to rally its supporters against a favorite Republican foe: the mainstream media. ‘Last night, as Michele prepared her plans to debate on CBS, we received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows — the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates by purposely suppressing our conservative message,’ Keith Nahigian, Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign manager, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. The campaign also urged people to contact CBS News and Mr. Dickerson, whom it called a ‘well known liberal reporter,’ through Twitter to vent their outrage. It even provided direct links to the Twitter accounts for both.” Say what you will, but if FoxNews hosted every debate they’d ask more questions of Our Gal than Buddy Roemer.

A bit more substantively, Bachmann declared her approval of waterboarding, accused the ACLU of controlling the CIA, declared that the United States should be “less socialist,” more like … China. And, on the Penn State scandal, via Shira Schoenberg at The Boston Globe: “Bachmann said that as a parent, her response to the arrest of the college football team’s former assistant coach for sexual abuse of children and the firing of the head coach and college president, would be forceful. ‘If that was my child, my automatic reaction would be even though I’m a small woman, I want to find that guy and beat him to a pulp,’ Bachmann said.” Which is more than the 6’4” ex-quarterback did when he witnessed the incident in the shower.

$260 million down. $1.65 billion to go. That, according to David Phelps’ Strib story, is what has been clawed back from Tom Petters’ various “investments”: “[W]hen the case will conclude is anyone’s guess. ‘We’re behind schedule from where I thought we would be a year ago at this time,’ [bankruptcy trustee Doug] Kelley said in an interview last week. ‘I think this is going to take at least another 18 months to two years.’ Kelley and a team of attorneys, accountants and investigators have collected an estimated $260 million, largely through the sale of Petters’ corporate holdings, notably Sun Country Airlines ($34 million) and Polaroid Corp. ($85.9 million). The trustee also picked up $11.2 million from the Jamaican lottery, where Petters had an interest, and $34 million in a patent settlement with Hewlett-Packard. Charitable recipients of Petters’ philanthropy returned $8 million. Former Petters employees have returned at least $9 million. But by far the largest source for potential recovery is the attempt to claw back profits made by investors who often received healthy interest payments for their loans to the charismatic and self-made businessman.” “Self-made” indeed.

Did you catch the governor’s case for a “people’s stadium” in Sunday’s Strib? “[T]his is how I propose we proceed. First, legislative leaders need to set a date by which the terms of any stadium project to be considered by the Legislature must be finalized. They and I would then appoint a site-neutral negotiating team, consisting of the Republican and DFL authors of the legislation; stadium, real estate and financing experts, and an experienced negotiator. Ramsey County and the city of Minneapolis could add representatives for the negotiations involving their respective projects. I urge Minneapolis officials to narrow the three locations they are presently considering to one preferred site. The negotiating team would then negotiate the best possible deal for both the Arden Hills and Minneapolis projects with the Vikings, the local partner and anyone else necessary.” Apparently $650 million in job-juicing taxpayer money will not be directed at infrastructure and schools.

In his Strib column, Patrick Reusse stuck his fork in the Arden Hills idea: “Wilf is correct in his letter [of last Friday]. Arden Hills is the best possible site for a Vikings stadium — if what we have as our main concerns is Zygi being able to collect $40 per car for thousands of cars on game Sundays, and for Zygi to be able to develop the rest of the large acreage with retail, lodging and offices. You can’t blame Wilf for pushing this, not when remembering that Zygi might own a football team but in his chest beats the heart of a commercial real estate developer. If the goal for the folks at the State Capitol is to give the Wilfs everything they would want in a stadium site as team owners and land developers, it’s Arden Hills in a walk. And, that might have made sense when Ramsey County was coming to the table with $350 million. With the state now on the hook for the entire public share, the Metrodome is cheaper and takes advantage of infrastructure that has worked for 30 years.”

Best of all was Jim Ragsdale’s piece on House Speaker Kurt Zellers’ fine dance between not losing the Vikings on his watch and not raising taxes. The part where Zellers laments the lack of bipartisanship is particularly amusing: “The chief lesson of ’06 — when Zellers voted ‘no’ on the Twins ballpark but ‘yes’ on the Gophers stadium — was that both parties must contribute votes toward the 68 needed for passage in the House. ‘That takes it away from a political election campaign, at least from the leadership level,’ said Steve Sviggum, a Republican who was the House speaker in 2006. That year, Republicans put up 37 votes for the bill; DFLers nearly matched them with 34. In the Senate, a coalition of 22 DFLers and 12 Republicans pushed the Twins stadium bill through. ‘That group, that model, is what is missing now,’ Zellers said.” And who exactly drove “that model” into the ditch?

A story by Sam Roberts in the New York Times looks at census data that show more people are moving to The Big Apple from Minnesota than leaving it for our bucolic wonderland: “In 2010, 252,000 people moved to New York — 157,000 from elsewhere in the country — while 220,000 left, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That contrasts sharply with 2006, when 230,000 arrived and 341,000 left. The economy has been a factor in the movement in both directions. Some people coming to New York are economic refugees from places, like the Rust Belt and the Southwest, hit worse by the recession and still struggling to recover. For those people, New York offers a chance to start over. In 2010, as an example, more people moved to the city from California, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon than left the city for those states — reversing a trend.” And they all think they can write a check at the local bodega.

I should have found this last week: Some excellent aerial photos of the BWCA after the big Pagami Creek fire, by Steve Foss for MPR.

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 11/14/2011 - 07:00 am.

    American exceptional-ism demands that we do what is right, and live to a higher standard.

    American exceptional-ism does not mean we are excused to act like a third world thug-ocracy.

    People like Bachmann enjoy talking about American exceptional-ism, but they are like a spoiled child who doesn’t realize there are costs to being the best.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/14/2011 - 08:02 am.

    I can only hope that the efforts of Ms. Bachmann and her campaign staff to shoot the messenger,…

    a messenger which was only treating her the way every other candidate who falls into and stays mired in the single digits of support gets treated,…

    will fall on deaf ears.

    Hint to Ms. Bachmann: it is NOT the fault of the media that your scattershot, say any crazy thing that might get you in the spotlight, fact- reality- rational thought- human decency- challenged candidacy is rapidly sliding toward the refuse heap of history.

    It’s YOUR fault. CBS was just reacting in a completely fair, UNbiased way to the results of your very-well-and-amply-demonstrated incompetence.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/14/2011 - 08:09 am.

    The full loop of insanity has been reached, the far right converges into the far left.

    Bachmann speaks:


    “The ‘Great Society’ has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state,” she said. “If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don’t have the modern welfare state and China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.”

    (end quote)

    Add to that, her statement last week of “he who does not work, neither shall he eat”, which is a direct borrow from article twelve of the 1936 Soviet Constitution: “In the USSR work is a duty and a matter of honor for every able-bodied citizen, in accordance with the principle: “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.””

    It’s irrefutable!!


  4. Submitted by Derek Wain on 11/14/2011 - 08:38 am.

    “An email from a CBS producer who predicted that Bachmann would not receive many questions from moderators Scott Pelley and Major Garrett.”
    The email is not a “supposed smoking gun” It proves that CBS intended their anti-Bachmann bias to do what they in fact did: ask Bachmann fewer (60%) questions than asked of Romney and Gingrich.
    When you predict what in fact you do, then it shows intent, in this case intent of bias.
    A recent SmartPolitics analysis found that former Massachusetts governor and front-runner for the nomination Mitt Romney has spoken for over 73 minutes in the last 5 debates, more than any other candidate. Texas Governor Rick Perry came in second in terms of speaking time at 54 minutes, followed by Bachmann at 41.

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/14/2011 - 09:06 am.

    It’s not an “anti-Bachmann” bias, it’s an “anti-relevancy” bias. Where was this liberal bias months ago when Bachmann was an everyday story in Iowa?

  6. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/14/2011 - 09:34 am.

    I’m not sure if I feel the way you do or the way the other commenters feel. The fact is, the GOP playing field is too big, so it makes sense to focus questions on the front-runners. She probably got too much attention early on where she was allowed to take up more time than others. However, I do dislike that the media gets to choose how much we hear from her if she’s allowed into the debate. Quite frankly, her numbers have dropped, so she shouldn’t be given time AT ALL in the debate. As in the past, if you can’t stay relevant, you can’t participate AT ALL. That they continue to even think about it, while at the same time make sure she simply gets to blink those big blue crazy-eyes in her little corner screams “RATINGS GRAB!” After all, she might spout something crazy and bump the ratings. In addition, you make a good point (if it is the case…I didn’t verify) about Romney getting more time than others. I understand that he’s the only electable candidate. But he’s not the front-runner at this time. And further, this is not a “let the GOP chosen talk show” it’s a DEBATE (I use that term loosely). That at least suggests that the front-runners should have the opportunity to spread their crazy equally. Finally, the concept that the GOP golden child gets more time than anyone else directly refutes Bachmann’s claim that the media is liberal. If that was the case, why would they give free commercial time to the front-runner? Wouldn’t they ask difficult questions and allow the top three to drag each other down?

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/14/2011 - 09:51 am.

    Point to Bachmann: if a debate includes all candidates, then the participants deserve equal time and treatment. I’d suggest random assignments as to location on the stage, rather than what appears to have been stage-managed to put the poll-leaders in proximity to one another. As for liberal bias, never accuse someone of ill will when stupidity will do. In this case, it seems to me, CBS was looking to play to the viewers rather than illuminate the issues.

    On another front, I’ve begun work on a script for a new horror film, to be produced locally. The working title is “Wilf: The Stadium That Wouldn’t Die!” Anyone who thinks this is about the public’s interest needs a long rest in a quiet facility. It’s simple greed, from one end of the metro to the other. What business other than a major league sports franchise would have the temerity to ask for $650 million in public funds in this economy and with our other budget issues? I’d actually be willing to consider giving the money to 3M or another player if it meant they’d build tax-paying facilities in Minnesota and provide jobs paying a livable wage. Frankly, we don’t need more hot dog vendors.

    As to Penn State: Minnesota law states that “A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel.”

    Violation of the law is merely a petty misdemeanor at present. Perhaps its time to revisit this, at least for purposes of reporting sexual abuse and increasing the penalty. (From what I’ve read, the person who discovered Sandusky in the shower had no direct relationship to the victim and would not have been obligated to report the event under Minnesota’s current laws other than this one.) It’s becoming increasingly clear that we can no longer count on an individual to do something simply because it is the right thing to do.

  8. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 11/14/2011 - 09:56 am.

    Since the Republican party is proudly the party of waterboarding, I suggest this format: in the first half they have the normal “debate” (not really a debate at all) and then in the second half each “debater” is waterboarded while answering a series of “gotcha” questions. Ratings would probably be near 100% and we’d have a chance to learn who the “real” conseravative is, certainly not comrade Bachmann.

  9. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 11/14/2011 - 11:59 am.

    @Derek Wain

    Your conspiracy theory doesn’t hold any sway. There was no bias by CBS, no matter how much you might wish for that to be true.

    Expressing an opinion in an email does not make for a conspiracy; if it did, then every opinion you express that actually comes to pass must also be a conspiracy, and we already know that’s not the case. Furthermore, there’s no evidence to even suggest that Scott Pelley or Major Garrett were privy to that email. In fact, moderators have their questions set well in advance of the debate. Short answer: there’s no smoking gun.

    As for Our Gal Shelley, she doesn’t seem to have a grip on reality, much less history.

    She rambles on about Socialism (a word for which she doesn’t know the meaning) being evil and what the rest of “us” are leading this country into. Then she tries to contrast that to China, of all places!

    Her various ramblings have her solidly in the camp of being wary of China; not allowing their exports into this county; accusing them of currency manipulation; blah, blah, blah.

    But then she take the opposite approach and hails China as an economic model for us to emulate, supposedly because they’re economy is growing. Ummm…but isn’t it growing because of currency manipulation and dumping their products on the US market below cost? After all, that is what she’s said before; maybe she forgot, since she has too many lies to remember which one’s she’s used before.

    Now she’s holding up China as being so great because workers there save for their retirement (maybe, but most Chinese live in abject poverty). So if Shelley wants to eliminate Social Security and our other social programs that work perfectly well, I’m sure she’ll have no problem in giving up all her Social Security benefits first, as well as that lovely Congressional Pension that all of us are paying for, right?

    Shelley, we’re waiting for you to take the plunge. We won’t hold our breath.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/14/2011 - 12:12 pm.

    I just want to say I almost didn’t read today’s Glean because it promised to discuss Bachmann. Instead I just skipped half the article.

    Moving on, I have to say I’m rather confused by governor Dayton’s stadium tirade. He complains that there’s no plan, but then he promises to pay for the stadium without tax receipts, which would indicate HE’s got a plan of some kind. So where is his stadium plan? If he really thinks he can generate $20-30 million extra dollars a year selling jerseys and tickets where are his numbers? If he really want’s to get the ball rolling why doesn’t he step forward explain exactly where all this money is going to come from and show us the money?

    And of course I still have my suspicions that Dayton wouldn’t so upset about all of this had Wilf not spent over $2 million lobbying for public money this far.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/14/2011 - 12:16 pm.

    Judging from the comments on Dayton’s editorial, people don’t seem to be buying what he’s selling. Of course we know how representative the comments are… but still, it’s the Strib which is usually a big stadium booster and gets a lot of sports readers.

  12. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/14/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    Wayne (#4) has it right. As does Michele Bachmann.

    Early in the 2006 presidential campaign, ABC-TV hosted a debate including all 7 or 8 Democratic candidates. Even though the campaign was only one month old, the moderator called on the three front runners as measured by donations (Kerry, Clinton and Edwards) constantly and those further back in fund-raising less often and did not let them speak as long. Dennis Kucinich (and this I do believe was ideological rather than financial) was not allowed to respond to a question for 29 minutes.

    Later, the network broadcasting a debate between Kerry and Bush had its cameras zoom in on Bush so his presence filled the screen. When it was Kerry’s turn to respond to a question, the cameras filmed him from w-a-y back so he would look like a tiny nobody on the screen.

    These things didn’t happen when the League of Women Voters moderated the debates. The two parties are the ones who decided to let the networks do it. I wonder if they have ever regretted that decision and if there is a way to reverse it.

  13. Submitted by David Greene on 11/14/2011 - 02:02 pm.

    Dayton’s Sunday commentary really seemed to be pushing the Arden Hills site, at least indirectly. He spent a lot of column space talking about redevelopment and new economic complexes.

    Arden Hills would truly be a disaster for this region. We aren’t going to compete by spreading our resources all over the place. We’re going to compete by concentrating them and getting the creativity and innovation that comes from the network effect.

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