TALLAHASSEE, FL — A Florida high school student who survived last week’s deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School says cable news network CNN denied him the chance to ask his own questions during a town hall discussion on gun control, and instead pushed a scripted question for him to use on air.
Colton Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC shielded students while the school was under attack from the shooter, said he was going to address the option of using veterans as armed security guards in schools, but that his question was ultimately shot down.
Instead, Haab says, the network gave him a “scripted question” to use, an option he wanted no part of.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV (https://tinyurl.com/y76tbm84). “I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions.”
Frustrated by the network’s attempt to use him to push their own agenda, Haab says he chose not to participate in the town hall discussion, which was aired to millions around the country.
“I don’t think that it’s going to get anything accomplished,” Haab said. “It’s not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”
CNN issued a statement on Thursday to repudiate Haab’s claims once the teen’s comments went viral.
“There is absolutely no truth to this,” CNN said in a statement posted Twitter (https://tinyurl.com/y7enf6ca). “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,” CNN’s statement continued. “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.”
Last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead and dozens more wounded. The incident again sparked calls from gun control advocates for stricter gun laws and more thorough background checks.