The father of a survivor from the Parkland, Florida school shooting earlier this month admitted that he altered an e-mail exchange with CNN producers before sending them to Fox News in an attempt to discredit the network and their live town hall event.
Glenn Haab, father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Colton Haab, spoke with The Associated Press about his e-mail history with CNN. He and producer Carrie Stevenson were in contact preparing for the network's town hall broadcast between survivors and lawmakers.
Haab's son didn't participate in the event, and at first he said it was because CNN had wanted him to ask only "scripted" questions. He confessed to AP that he'd sent an altered version of the exchange to the Huffington Post and Fox News last week.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted,” Colton Haab told local ABC affiliate WPLG. “I don’t think that it’s going to get anything accomplished. It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”
Glenn Haab released his altered version of the e-mails to try and corroborate this story, but said that there was "nothing malicious behind" the omissions he made from Stevenson's e-mails. On Friday, CNN published the full text of the e-mails, forcing Haab to come clean.
In preparation for the event, Colton Haab was asked to submit his question ahead of time. Instead, he sent a 700-word opening statement, three questions, and a closing statement. Stevenson responded that the network wanted to give all the students a chance to speak, and Haab's submission was "way too long." After that, Haab withdrew from the event.
“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,” said a statement from CNN. “Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected.”
Haab reportedly helped keep several student safe during the shooting by hiding them behind the JROTC's Kevlar sheets, as former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire on the school. Unlike many of his classmates, Haab was more interested in questions about adding armed guards to the school than banning assault weapons or raising the legal age to purchase them.
Regardless of Glenn Haab's confession, the story about "scripted" questions on CNN had already taken its course. The idea was widely reported on Fox News and other networks, and even President Donald Trump remarked on it on Twitter.
Florida lawmakers officially voted to implement a $67 million program that will train teachers to carry guns. The "school marshal" program will arm ten trained teachers in every school, according to a report by The Tampa Bay Times.
The measure was approved in spite of most of the students who survived the massacre calling for more strict gun control policies.