Update, February 24, 2018, 11:11am:
A CNN source has released emails to address the Haab family’s claims of the network putting forward “scripted” material. According to Business Insider, Fox News and the Huffington Post received CNN-related email exchanges from the Haabs on Friday afternoon, and CNN later “provided Colton’s version of the emails, as well as their versions of all of the communications between the Haabs and CNN.”
Business Insider reports that CNN opted to release their communications upon the revelation that the emails received by Fox and HuffPo were missing a portion of text. CNN’s version of one particular email shows that producer Carrie Stevenson told Colton’s father, Glenn, that Colton needed to “stick to” one question that he and Stevenson “discussed on the phone that he submitted”; the version of the email reportedly provided by the Haabs to Fox and HuffPost is missing the phrase “that he submitted.”
Colton Haab, a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, told local reporters that he opted out of attending CNN’s town hall because his own proposed questions were rebuffed and set to be replaced by “scripted” questions.
A town hall was held Wednesday night at the BB&T Center by CNN, hosted by Jake Tapper and included Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Dana Loesch, and a number of Stoneman Douglas students.
WPLG-TV reported that Haab “wrote questions about school safety and suggested using veterans as security guards, but he claims CNN wanted him to ask scripted questions instead.”
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted,” said Haab, 17, a student at Stoneman Douglas and a Junior ROTC member who reportedly shielded students during the mass shooting at the high school that left 17 dead.
“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab also said.
CNN responded to Haab’s claim by issuing the following statement via Twitter:
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 WPLG-TV, no other students have come forward with claims similar to those of Haab.