CNN, citing doctored email, denies feeding a Parkland survivor a ‘scripted question’ before town hall

The survivor, Colton Haab, told south Florida's Local 10 News that the network fed him a question, so he declined to participate.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Junior Colton Haab appears on CNN February 16. 2018. Credit: CNN [Screengrab]
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Junior Colton Haab appears on CNN February 16. 2018. Credit: CNN [Screengrab]
Published Feb. 22, 2018|Updated Feb. 24, 2018

Note: This story has been updated twice: Once after President Trump weighed on the controversy Thursday night, and once Saturday morning after media outlets reported that the survivor's father sent doctored emails of his correspondences with CNN to media outlets. 

CNN said there 'is absolutely no truth' to a Parkland survivor's claim that the network gave him pre-written questions to ask at Wednesday night's gun violence town hall.

The network's communications office posted a message to Twitter Thursday morning refuting the claim of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Colton Haab — and offering him another chance to appear on the network.

Haab told south Florida's WPLG Local 10 News Wednesday night that CNN rejected the questions he originally wanted to ask.

"CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted," Haab said.

According to WPLG, Haab planned to ask town hall participants about employing veterans as armed guards at schools. CNN urged him to ask different questions, Haab told the TV station, so the junior declined to participate in the town hall.

"I don't think that it's going to get anything accomplished," Haab said about the town hall, per WPLG. "It's not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have."

CNN published a story Feb. 16 about the "heroic" Haab's "quick thinking" in using kevlar sheets to shield his classmates from the shooter's bullets. Haab is a member of Douglas's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

The cable news giant also interviewed Haab about assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who died using his own body to shield Parkland students from the gunman's fire.

It's not the first time a Parkland survivor has accused the news media of playing politics. Senior Brandon Minoff told Fox News Tuesday that the media is "politicizing this tragedy."

UPDATE (Thursday): The president also weighed in Thursday night:

UPDATE (Saturday): Business Insider reported Friday evening that Colton Haab's father, Glenn Haab, sent doctored emails to media outlets in an attempt to substantiate the claim that CNN tried to feed his son a scripted question before the network's gun violence forum.

Business Insider writes that, according to CNN, a network producer agreed to let the younger Haab write and ask a question about arming teachers at the network's Wednesday town hall.

But Haab's father sent the network a long speech that he insisted his son read at the town hall. CNN, citing time constraints, told Glenn they needed Colton to stick with the question "that he submitted."

When the elder Haab passed along the correspondence between his family and the network, Business Insider reports, he omitted the key phrase, "that he submitted."

Read more from Business Insider, including the email exchanges between the Haabs and CNN, here.