We have two tales now. One is that CNN scripted a question for a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, who survived the horrific shooting last Wednesday that left 17 people dead and at least a dozen wounded. The other is CNN’s version of events. The network says they did not script anything; the student’s father withdrew his name from the list of those who wished to ask questions at the town hall event, and the reason for that was because the student wanted to give a speech.
It was first reported that Colton Haab, the student who made the allegation, wanted to ask a question centering on hiring military veterans as armed security at schools.
CNN pushed back strongly on Haab’s claims:
There is absolutely no truth to this. CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night's town hall, nor have we ever. After seeing an interview with Colton Haab, we invited him to participate in our town hall along with other students and administrators from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected. We welcome Colton to join us on CNN today to discuss his views on school safety.
According to a CNN insider Haab wanted to give an extensive speech and not just ask a question, something the network said the forum was not designed for. When the family was told this they decided to pull out of the event. The CNNer also noted the subject Haab wanted to address, arming teachers, was discussed at length in the 2-hour long town hall.
Yet, despite CNN pretty much calling him a liar, Haab double down on his story with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. He said a female CNN producer, contacted him four days ago, she wanted him to write a speech for the town hall event in Sunrise, Florida. He agreed. On the next day, the CNN employee said she wanted more questions rather than a speech. Haab was fine with that and complied. The day after that, CNN just wanted questions, he submitted his questions, and then he said around 5:15 P.M. yesterday—he made contact with the network and she wanted just one question. It’s here that he realized they had scripted one from his based on a past interview with the network, where he said he supported teachers arming themselves (via RCP):
COLTON HAAB: So what had happened was four days ago I had gotten contacted by a lady named [State of the Union executive producer] Carrie Stevenson from CNN. She had asked me originally to just write a speech. It was going to be at the town hall at the BB&T Center [in Sunrise, Florida]. So I agreed. I felt like it would be the right thing to do. Be able to go speak my part as well as open eyes to a few things that I thought that can make this situation a little better. From there, three days ago, so the next day after that I had gotten an email back from her and she asked for more of questions rather than a speech. Which I was totally fine with so I wrote a little less of a speech and more of questions that I wanted to ask at the town hall. The day after that it was more of just questions. She asked for just questions that I would like to ask.
So, I gave her my questions and then yesterday, at about 5:15, I made contact with her. And she had asked if I had just asked her one question. So what they had actually done was wrote out a question for me because in my interview with CNN, I had talked about arming the teachers, if they were willing to arm themselves in the school to carry on campus. And they had -- she had taken that of what I had briefed on and actually wrote that question out for me. So I have that question here if you would like me to ask it for you.
When Tucker asked if CNN used their words, not Haab’s, to craft a question—the student said, “absolutely.”
“That seems dishonest,” added Carlson.
“It definitely did and that’s kind of why I didn’t go last night. Originally, I had thought that it was going to be more of my own question and my own say, and then it turned out to be more of just a script. And she had actually said that over the phone that I needed to stick to the script."
There you have it, folks. We have two sides of a story. What do you think?