CNN Accuses Florida Student Cited By President As Lying About Scripted Question

200px-Cnn.svgColton Haab, a survivor of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has appeared on national television to voice his allegation that CNN tried to get him to read a scripted question at the network’s recent Town Hall event with survivors and leading politicians.  The allegation led President Donald Trump to tweet that CNN had been caught in an act of “fake news.” Now however CNN has posted the original email and accused Haab of “doctoring” the emails and lying about its exchange with its producer.  If CNN is doctoring the emails (which is unlikely), Haab could sue for defamation.  However, the network says that critical language was removed by Haab or his family.


Haab accused CNN of rejecting his question and his statement before giving him a scripted question.  He then refused to attend. This led to appearances on Fox News and this tweet from President Trump and a fast denial by:


“School shooting survivor says he quit @CNN Town Hall after refusing scripted question.” @TuckerCarlson. Just like so much of CNN, Fake News. That’s why their ratings are so bad! MSNBC may be worse.

There is absolutely no truth to this story — and we can prove that. CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever. Those are the facts. 🍎


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CNN then released the original email:

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According to Business Insider, CNN and Haab agreed on the question but there was a disagreement over a lengthy statement that he wanted to give.

CNN is now accusing the Haabs of lying in “an effort to discredit CNN and the town hall with doctored emails has taken any attention away from the purpose of the event.”

The key missing language of the emails to the father, Glenn Haab, saying “This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone that he submitted.”  Those last words did not appear in the Haabs version released to the media.

It is a truly sad and rather bizarre story.  It is not clear how the Haabs would not believe that CNN would release the original email or why those critical words could be removed without a nefarious purpose.

Obviously, if CNN is lying, the Haabs have a major defamation case.  If the original email is accurate (and again I have no reason to question its authenticity), the Haabs need to explain the discrepancy.  They could still argue that the CNN email did not capture the prior communications but the threshold question remains the omitted words.

The original emails explains to the father that time is limited and that they are sticking to what they previously discussed.  The family could have felt censored in the denial of the opportunity to read the longer statement, but that does not explain the alleged changing of the email (which the family used as critical evidence to support its claim). The family declined to speak with the Washington Post on the CNN released email.

This is a teenage boy in the aftermath of a great trauma and loss.  He should never have found himself in this media maelstrom.  However, the national accusations followed by the President’s tweet raised a serious allegation of false dealing by CNN and a staged event.

What do you think?


168 thoughts on “CNN Accuses Florida Student Cited By President As Lying About Scripted Question”


    Donald Trump reportedly stopped a bat-wielding attacker in 1991

    (Originally published by the Daily News on November 20, 1991. This story was written by James Rosen.)

    Call it The Donald to The Rescue.

    When he saw “a big guy with a big bat” bashing another fellow, Donald Trump did what any self-respecting billionaire would do: He ordered his driver to pull over.

    “I’m not looking to play this thing up,” Trump said yesterday. “I’m surprised you found out about it.”

    Witnesses said Trump, with Marla Maples tugging at his arm to try to stop him, leaped from his black stretch limousine Monday evening during the assault on Ninth Ave. near 45th St.


    “Someone in the car looked over and said, ‘Gee, look at that, it’s a mugging,’ ” Trump said. “I said to my driver to stop the car because it was brutal-looking.”

    Trump was at first reluctant to discuss his daredevil deed, but then he warmed to the task.

    “The guy with the bat looked at me, and I said, “Look, you’ve gotta stop this. Put down the bat,”‘ Trump said. “I guess he recognized me because he said, ‘Mr. Trump, I didn’t do anything wrong.’ I said, ‘How could you not do anything wrong when you’re whacking a guy with a bat?’ Then he ran away.”

    New York Daily News published this on November 20, 1991
    New York Daily News published this on November 20, 1991
    Trump said the incident occurred at 8 p.m. as he, Maples and another couple were heading toward the Lincoln Tunnel on their way to the Meadowlands in New Jersey for a Paula Abdul concert.

    Kathleen Romeo, a 16-year-old student at St. Michael’s Academy in Manhattan, said cries of “There’s Trump!” went through the crowd of onlookers.

    “A lot of people were surprised that he got out to see what was happening,” Romeo said, adding that the bat-wielder ran off just before Trump actually appeared, and that Trump, “just looked around and went back into his limo.”

    But another witness, who asked not to be identified, said. “There was a guy with a bat, hitting a guy over the head, and Trump yelled, ‘Put that bat down. What are you doing?’ The guy dropped the bat, came over and started talking to him.”

    Trump said the bat-man delivered at least “five or six good whacks” before he interceded.

    Trump said he left the site only after he saw a man who appeared to be a doctor treating the victim and heard that an ambulance was on its way.

    Police said the attack was not reported to police.

    The incident may have been a karmic sequel to the Oct. 31 mugging of Trump’s mother, whose attacker was chased and caught by bread deliveryman.

  2. The omitted phrase makes no sense. It appears more likely that CNN doctored its own email as the disputed phrase does not fit in the sentence (as supposedly drafted by CNN).

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