The 'scripted' town-hall question: A CNN non-scandal

People criticize CNN all the time, on social media, on television, on the radio. Most of it fizzles. However: When a survivor of a horrific school shooting in Parkland, Fla., criticizes the 24/7 network for alleged misfeasance in handling the issue of gun violence, a local story takes an immediate hop to the national stage.

“I expected to be able ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” said Colton Haab, a JROTC student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman last week killed 17 people. Haab was speaking to WPLG-TV, an ABC affiliate in Florida, and the topic was CNN’s headline-making town-hall event on Wednesday night in Sunrise, Fla., at which survivors of the school shooting directly challenged lawmakers on gun control and school safety. “CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” said Haab, 17, who had reportedly suggested deploying veterans to protect schools.

Such was the story’s momentum that Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night welcomed Haab for an interview regarding his interactions with CNN. A raised Carlson eyebrow persisted through the entire session, as the host did his best to frame this episode as the week’s media scandal. “At the request of a CNN producer, you sent in a number of questions, statements you wanted to make, questions you wanted to ask of the politicians on the stage, and they rewrote one of your questions? Is that right?” asked Carlson.

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