A survivor of the high school shooting in Florida last week says CNN gave him a “scripted question” to ask during the network’s televised town hall on Wednesday night.
Colton Haab said he decided not to attend the event after CNN wouldn’t let him ask the question he wanted to deliver and instead gave him an alternate question. A member of the Junior ROTC at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Haab shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter. He said he wanted to ask about the potential for hiring veterans as armed security guards at schools to prevent future shootings.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV. “I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished. It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”
“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” he said.
CNN aired the 2-hour town hall Wednesday night; in attendance were many of the survivors of the Florida high school shooting and their parents, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. It was moderated by Jake Tapper, and students and parents asked questions about gun control and school safety.
CNN issued a statement Thursday morning contradicting Haab’s assertion. The network said it invited Haab to participate in the town hall, but that his father stopped him from taking part. According to Real Clear Politics, a source at CNN also said Haab wanted to give a longer speech at the town hall, rather than just ask a question. The source also noted that the subject Haab wanted to address, arming teachers and having armed veterans guard schools, was discussed at length during the event.
CNN’s full statement read:
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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.