CNN reached out directly to The Daily Caller to deny the claim made by a Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor in regard to Wednesday night’s gun safety town hall in Florida, but their explanation seems to run contrary to programming featured in that same town hall.
Colton Haab, a JROTC enlistee who has previously spoken with media outlets about how he helped his peers seek shelter during the shooting, did not take part in Wednesday’s event on the grounds that CNN attempted to plant “scripted” questions for him to ask. (RELATED: JROTC Members Saved Students By Building Shield Of Kevlar Curtains)
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab claimed. “I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions.” (RELATED: Parkland Survivor Claims CNN Planted ‘Scripted’ Questions At Town Hall)
A CNN spokesman reached out to TheDC and explained that while Haab did in fact submit remarks to be delivered, they were turned away once it became clear he planned on delivering an extensive speech and not just ask a singular question.
“There is absolutely no truth,” to Haab’s claim, CNN’s Vice President of Communications and Digital Partnerships Matt Dornic told TheDC. “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.”
Dornic added the network gave Haab the opportunity to expand on the idea of arming teachers, a topic which was brought up multiple times during the town hall, as opposed to delivering a prepared speech. Haab reportedly declined to reframe his remarks, and his father subsequently prevented him from taking part in the program.
Despite CNN’s explanation, the network did in fact let multiple participants deliver lengthy remarks which went beyond the pale of simple questions.
In particular, Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was one of the 17 victims who lost their lives in last week’s tragedy, gave a speech while Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel And NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch sat on stage.
The grieving mother ended her powerful, four-minute-long remarks by asking Loesch, “what is your plan to put things into action? What is your action?” yet Loesch was not given an opportunity to respond by moderator Jake Tapper.
This was not Alhadeff’s first appearance on CNN.
Her impassioned response to her daughter’s death last week brought CNN host Brooke Baldwin to tears during a live broadcast. (RELATED: Brooke Baldwin Moved To Tears By Emotional Message From Parkland Victim’s Mother)
CNN did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for additional comment on why Alhadeff was allowed to deliver her speech yet Haab was not.