While appearing on Thursday’s edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Colton Haab discussed the situation with CNN’s gun control town hall, and named the producer he says told him to “stick to the script.”
According to Haab, a member of the school’s Junior ROTC cadet corps, said Carrie Stevenson, an executive producer at CNN, ultimately rejected what he initially submitted and “scripted” a question for him after several conversations.
“Before we get into anything. I just want to make sure that everybody hasn’t forgotten why we are actually here tonight. I mean, we lost 17 lives last week. I actually physically put two to rest. To me, that was the hardest thing in the world to endure. Nobody should have to go through this. As long as we are taking the right steps to move forward from this and make sure this doesn’t happen again, I’m all for that,” Haab told Carlson.
According to a transcript posted by Real Clear Politics, Haab explained:
COLTON HAAB: So what had happened was four days ago I had gotten contacted by a lady named [State of the Union executive producer] Carrie Stevenson from CNN. She had asked me originally to just write a speech. It was going to be at the town hall at the BB&T Center [in Sunrise, Florida]. So I agreed. I felt like it would be the right thing to do. Be able to go speak my part as well as open eyes to a few things that I thought that can make this situation a little better. From there, three days ago, so the next day after that I had gotten an email back from her and she asked for more of questions rather than a speech. Which I was totally fine with so I wrote a little less of a speech and more of questions that I wanted to ask at the town hall. The day after that it was more of just questions. She asked for just questions that I would like to ask.
So, I gave her my questions and then yesterday, at about 5:15, I made contact with her. And she had asked if I had just asked her one question. So what they had actually done was wrote out a question for me because in my interview with CNN, I had talked about arming the teachers, if they were willing to arm themselves in the school to carry on campus. And they had — she had taken that of what I had briefed on and actually wrote that question out for me. So I have that question here if you would like me to ask it for you.
“I just want to make sure I have this straight. So you sent them a long, in effect essay on what you thought but they put their own words in the question and they weren’t the same as the words you had sent in? They were the producer’s words?” Carlson asked.
“Absolutely,” Haab said in response. “They had taken what I had wrote and what I had briefed on and talked about and they actually wrote the question for me.”
“But not with your — they put their own words into their question, even after they asked to you send in questions,” Carlson said in response.
“Absolutely,” Haab answered.
“But that seems dishonest,” Carlson reacted.
“It definitely did,” Haab said. “That’s kind of why I didn’t go last night. Originally I had thought that it was going to be more of my own question and my own say and then it turned out to be more of just a script. And she had actually said that over the phone that I needed to stick to the script.”
Real Clear Politics added:
Haab said watched some of the CNN town hall but turned it off because he “knew” it was going to be “scripted.”
“I watched a little bit of it. I kind of felt like I didn’t really need to because I knew as soon as what had happened with me that it was going to be more scripted and wasn’t actually going to be actual questions. Then I didn’t feel the need to fully watch it,” he told Carlson.
“So if CNN was willing to re-word your question, put their own words in your mouth, and as you said you didn’t want to go along with that, do you think they did that to other people last night?” Carlson asked.
“Absolutely, from what I did see, I seen a couple people that had asked questions before I did leave my house. And it was a little piece of paper cut out. And I know for a fact that nobody cut their own paper out and wrote their own question. Especially when they were all based off the same topic. So, to me, it from right there it showed this isn’t correct. Why do they all have the same size piece of paper with a short little question on it? So, to me it was a total waste of my time, honestly,” Haab said.
“You’re not just some person off the street,” Carlson told Haab. “You’re a survivor of this shooting and the point was the listen to you — to the survivors of the shooting.”
More than that, Haab is under consideration for the JROTC Heroism Medal by the U.S. Army Cadet Command for his actions during the shooting.
CNN responded to Haab’s original statement by accusing him of lying.
“There is absolutely no truth to this,” the network said in an official statement. “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.”
Here’s video of Haab’s interview with Carlson:
- Florida shooting hero Colton Haab: CNN gave me “scripted question” after denying question about armed guards
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