Saturday night's debate actually looked to be one of the more sedate of the GOP matchups, until the campaign of Michele Bachmann posted the contents of an email that newly appointed CBS News political director John Dickerson sent to their communications director. In it, he talks of her questions being limited during the debate since she is "nearly off the charts" in the polls.
Keith Nahigian, Bachmann's campaign manager, posted, "While Michele has been onstage at tonight's debate demonstrating strong leadership on foreign policy and national security, 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 and limiting Michele's questions.
"View the attached email by CBS News' political director from earlier today–we need to show the liberal media elite that we won't stand for this outrageous manipulation. Help us fight this affront by sharing this with your friends."
They've launched a campaign calling for supporters to complain to CBS News at Dickerson via email and Twitter.
Interestingly, the first comment comes from a man named Cliff Falcone, who writes, "Wow now how does it feel to be in Ron Paul's shoes?"
Actually, this is pretty run of the mill stuff for networks engaged in debates. There are always candidates getting left out, contenders who feel slighted, others who believe they didn't get enough time. There is pressure to increase the drama quotient — with so many debates, how could there not be. But as the New York Times points out, attacking the media is now just another campaign theme, what with Newt Gingrich not disguising his contempt and Herman Cain charging that the firestorm he is facing is all but a creation of an out of control news business. But as Bachmann points out, the worst thing that can happen is to be ignored.
Dickerson tweeted earlier today, "Thanks everyone for your good wishes, support, humor and friendship over this last exciting and strange 24 hours."