CNN Picks Up on Bachmann's Newsweek Cover Photo, Questions Media's Treatment of Conservative Women Candidates

Newsweek's embarrassing cover photo of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) garnered attention not only from conservative blogs, but also from the major networks and cable news. CNN ran Bachmann's wide-eyed picture on the latest Newsweek cover multiple times Tuesday morning, asking if the picture and harsh headline were examples of media maltreatment of conservative women presidential candidates.  

"Politics is rough for both women and men. Just how rough, though, may depend on your gender," remarked American Morning co-host Carol Costello. "So the 'Talk Back' question today, are Republican women unfairly criticized because they're women?"

Costello also quoted Bachmann herself criticizing the media, and noted that her critics "haven't exactly been measured." She mentioned MSNBC's Ed Schultz calling Bachmann a "psycho talker," and a clip played of late-night comedian Jay Leno laughing at Bachmann "trying to steal the dumba** vote."

Whether CNN selectively reported the responses to the question, or most of the responders simply don't like Bachmann, the three comments reported live showed no sympathy for the candidate. "Keep the comments coming," Costello exclaimed almost gleefully over the outspoken remarks.

At the end of a segment, the co-hosts tempered the thought that conservative women are all targeted for criticism. "We tend to lump all conservative women together, right? They all believe exactly the same thing. They'll act exactly the same way, and that's just not true. That's not true of women in general. So, why would it be true of conservative women?" Costello remarked.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 9 at 6:11 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

CAROL COSTELLO: And now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. Are Republican women unfairly criticized because they're women? We hear a lot. There's a double standard when it comes to criticizing politicians who are female. Republican and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, who has had a few missteps with historical facts says yes, she makes mistakes, but she, unlike liberal politicians, doesn't get a pass from the media. Bachmann told CBN's David Brodie it's something she, Sarah Palin and other conservative women just have to deal with.

(Video Clip)

Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-Minn.): She has been unfairly criticized and I think that we've seen that with other conservative women as well across the country, whether they are political commentators or whether they're in public service.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: This morning, conservatives are fuming over the latest "Newsweek" cover that shows a startled looking Bachmann with the title "Queen of Rage." One blogger saying can anyone say with a straight face that the mainstream media is not biased against conservatives. Bachmann's critics haven't exactly been measured. Commentators like MSNBC's Ed Schultz called Bachmann a "psycho talker." And remember this from Jay Leno? He holds nothing back when it comes to the so-called mama grizzlies.

(Video Clip)

JAY LENO, host, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann now under fire for claiming the founding fathers eliminated slavery. And Sarah Palin, oh she is upset. Oh sure, another female Republican out there, trying to steal the dumba** vote.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: Politics is rough for both women and men. Just how rough, though, may depend on your gender. So the "Talk Back" question today, are Republican women unfairly criticized because they're women?

(...)

[6:53]

COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. With conservatives fuming over the latest Newsweek cover of Michele Bachmann, we asked you this question: Are Republican women unfairly criticized because they're women? And I must say that our Facebook friends do not like Michele Bachmann, at least most of them who responded on our page.

This from Edward, "I don't hear anybody criticizing Kay Bailey Hutchison, Amy Holmes, or Peggy Noonan. If you're only speaking of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, there's nothing unfair about the criticism at all. People are terrified at the prospect of an anti- intellectual loose cannon being put in charge of this country by a mob with small minds and misdirected anger." What did I tell you?

This from James, "No, not at all. I rather like the photo and the caption. I think it's correct. Fair? What is fair in politics? If you're going to put your face out there in the public, you might expect not everyone will like you and may even toss a tomato or two."

This from Eileen, "No. If anything, the media doesn't nail them on all of their idiotic errors for fear of appearing biased against them."

Keep those comments coming, Facebook.com/americanmorning, and thanks, as always.

ROMANS: Because moderate Republican women, moderate Republican women tell me that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are not the face of the Republican Party for them. Although, they are the face of the Republican Party. They're the two you talk about most in terms of running for president right now.

COSTELLO: We tend to lump all conservative women together, right? They all believe exactly the same thing. They'll act exactly the same way, and that's just not true. That's not true of women in general. So, why would it be true of conservative women?

(Crosstalk)

ROMANS: Did we do that with Hillary Clinton, when Hillary Clinton was sort of the face of women in Democratic politics?

COSTELLO: I think so. Hillary Clinton got a lot of –

ROMANS: Right. You're right. You're right. All right.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014