Junior ROTC student Colton Haab helped shield students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida during the mass shooting on Valentine’s Day. CNN wanted him to appear on its town hall gun debate on Wednesday evening but Haab said he turned down the invite once he was handed a scripted question.
Speaking to WPLG, Haab said, “CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted.”
Haab had written out what he was going to say, including the suggestion that schools start employing veterans as armed security guards across the country to put a stop to school shootings. But he said CNN had other ideas and gave the student its own question.
"I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions," Haab said. “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.”
So, he decided not to attend the town hall hosted by Jake Tapper, which featured Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), as well as the NRA’s Dana Loesch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Haab emerged as one of the student heroes during the shooting whose quick thinking, along with other members of the school’s JROTC program, ushered a large group of kids into a classroom where some of their gear was stored. Haab helped hide students behind large pieces of Kevlar material in case the gunman stormed in. Thankfully, all their lives were spared.
CNN has responded to Haab’s claim and insist he’s lying:
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 RealClear Politics, a CNN insider said the town hall was not set up to accommodate Haab giving an “extensive speech” rather than asking a single question. CNN said the family made the decision to pull out when it was clear their son wouldn’t be given a platform. They also noted that the subject of having armed guards and teachers at schools was discussed thoroughly during the two-hour town hall.
But there’s this lingering claim from the network: “CNN did not, and does not, script any questions for town hall meetings, ever.”
Former CNN employee and former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile admitted after repeated lies that she forwarded a scripted question to then-candidate Hillary Clinton before a 2016 CNN town hall debate with Donald Trump. There are a multitude of other examples Michelle Malkin provided the New York Post to prove CNN is crazy to suggest it never, ever, ever scripts anything:
CNN has a long history of allowing political plants to flourish in its public forums.
At the cable station’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas in 2007, moderator Wolf Blitzer introduced several citizen questioners as “ordinary people, undecided voters.” But they later turned out to include a former Arkansas Democratic director of political affairs, the president of the Islamic Society of Nevada, and a far-left anti-war activist who’d been quoted in newspapers lambasting Harry Reid for his failure to pull out of Iraq.
At a CNN/YouTube GOP debate two weeks later, the everyday, “undecided voters” whose questions were chosen included:
- A member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Americans For Hillary Clinton Steering Committee.
- A young woman named “Journey” who questioned the candidates on abortion and whom CNN failed to properly identify as an outspoken John Edwards supporter.
- A supposed “Log Cabin Republican” who had declared his support for Obama on an Obama ‘08 campaign blog.
- A supposedly unaffiliated “concerned mother” who was actually a staffer and prominent Pittsburgh union activist for the United Steelworkers — which had endorsed Edwards for president.
- A supposed “undecided” voter who urged Ron Paul to run as an independent, but who had already publicly declared his support for former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s Democratic presidential bid.
- A staffer for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), a former intern for Rep. Jane Harman (D-California) and a former intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The list goes on and on.
“In an age of micromanaged partisan stagecraft and left-wing media enablers, there is no such thing as a spontaneous question,” Malkin wrote.
CNN can say it's focused on "Facts First," but those are always second to agenda.