- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2018

CNN has vehemently denied a Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor’s claims that the network scripted questions for Wednesday night’s town hall and rejected his question about armed guards.

“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Colton Haab, a JROTC captain at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who said he shielded students with Kevlar pads during last week’s mass shooting, told a local ABC affiliate.

Colton, 17, said he was going to ask a question about schools using veterans as armed security guards, but he decided not to attend the town hall after CNN allegedly rejected his question and tried to supply him with a scripted one.

CNN said in a statement Thursday morning that there was “absolutely no truth” to Colton’s claims.

“There is absolutely no truth to this,” the statement said. “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. 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.”

A CNN insider told Real Clear Politics that Colton wanted to give an extensive speech and not just ask a question, something the network said the forum was not designed for.

It’s worth noting that several questioners at the town hall gave speeches before asking their questions, including Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was killed in last week’s shooting. Her question to National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch lasted more than three and a half minutes.

The two-hour town hall at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper, included Ms. Loesch, Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, Rep. Ted Deutch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

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