- Screenshot/Fox News
- The family of Colton Haab, a student at the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last week, provided a doctored email between Haab’s father, Glenn Haab, and a CNN producer to media outlets.
- Colton told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Thursday that a CNN producer rewrote a question for Haab to ask at the network’s town hall-style event on Wednesday.
- President Donald Trump tweeted about the interview on Thursday night, calling CNN “fake news.”
- CNN denies Haab’s claims and said, “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.”
The family of Colton Haab, a student at the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last week, provided a doctored email to media outlets in order to defend Haab’s claims that CNN rewrote a question for him to ask at the network’s Wednesday town-hall-style event on school shootings.
Haab told the Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night that CNN executive producer Carrie Stevenson gave him a question to deliver to lawmakers and told him to “stick to the script.”
But CNN says there is “absolutely no truth” to Colton’s claims, which he first made on a Miami TV-news station.
“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 Carlson. “And they had – she had taken that, of what I had briefed on, and actually wrote that question out for me.”
CNN says that Stevenson and Colton agreed on one question that Colton would ask, but that Haab’s father, Glenn Haab, intervened, sending a lengthy speech (see below) that he wanted Colton to read, which included three questions for lawmakers.
Stevenson responded that the speech was “way too long” and that Colton “needs to stick” to the question they agreed on. Glenn then responded that he and his son “are not actors” and that Colton would not participate in the town hall if he could not read the full speech.
On Friday afternoon, Fox News and the HuffPost reached out to CNN to verify emails between the Haabs and Stevenson that they received from Colton.
A CNN source provided Colton’s version of the emails, as well as their versions of all of the communications between the Haabs and CNN, to Business Insider.
In CNN’s version of one email, Stevenson told Glenn that Colton needed to stick to a question that he and Stevenson “discussed on the phone that he submitted.” But in the version of the email provided by Colton to Fox and HuffPost, the phrase, “that he submitted” is deleted.
CNN’s version of the email:
The Haabs’ version of the email:
According to the metadata of the Word document containing the email that was provided to Fox, it appears that Glenn last edited it.
“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,” a CNN spokesman told Business Insider. “However, when presented with doctored email exchanges, we felt the need to set the record straight.”
Glenn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The CNN source told Business Insider that Stevenson talked with Colton on the phone after he submitted several questions to the network.
The two decided during the call that Colton would ask one question about training teachers and school staff to carry weapons, the source said. Colton had suggested in an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that Aaron Feis, a football coach at the high school who was killed while protecting students, might have stopped the shooter had he been armed.
The source said the final version of the question was made up of the “the verbatim language” Colton used on “Fox & Friends” about Feis in addition to his question about training teachers to be armed, which appears in the email below.
Emails between Colton Haab and Stevenson:
Emails between Glenn Haab and Stevenson:
On Thursday night, the president tweeted about Carlson’s segment, accusing CNN of being “fake news.”
“‘School shooting survivor says he quit @CNN Town Hall after refusing scripted question.’ @TuckerCarlson. Just like so much of CNN, Fake News,” Trump wrote. “That’s why their ratings are so bad! MSNBC may be worse.”
Carlson said he would reveal “new evidence” about Colton’s claims during his show on Friday evening.