The powerful CNN town hall meeting meant to discuss gun control in the wake of the Parkland high school shooting has been a significant conversation, but one student who survived the massacre claims he was given a scripted question to ask during the broadcast by CNN. The network is now hitting back with its own claims that the email provided as proof that Colton Haab was pushed to read a scripted question were altered, according to Business Insider. “It is unfortunate that an effort to discredit CNN and the town hall with doctored emails has taken any attention away from the purpose of the event,” said a CNN spokeswoman.
Emails from CNN producer Carrie Stevenson were sent by Haab's family to different media outlets to back up claims that the student was given a scripted question, leading to him pulling out of the town hall altogether. “This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone. He needs to stick to this,” the email allegedly read, additionally citing Haab's original speech and accompanying questions as "way too long." Haab has been adamant about the pressuring, participating in television interviews to further explain what went down. "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," Haab told Miami's WPLG-TV. "And they had — she had taken that, of what I had briefed on, and actually wrote that question out for me." This interview even prompted President Trump to again label CNN as "fake news."
CNN has shared their thread of the email correspondence, and it reads a bit differently than the emails Haab's family had been sending out. “This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone that he submitted. He needs to stuck [sic] to this,” the original email read. The message's metadata made it clear changes were made before being sent around, and a single phrase, "that he submitted," was purposely left out.
A source close to CNN told Business Insider that Colton had agreed to ask a question about training school staff to carry weapons, and used the same argument and language as one he made on Fox & Friends suggestion that if Stoneman Douglas High School football coach Aaron Feis had been armed, he may not have died protecting students and instead could have stopped the shooter.
Either way, an important dialogue was brought to the forefront during Wednesday's town hall meeting, and hopefully, something will soon change.