Media critic

CNN appears to have had enough.

On Friday afternoon, the network released email correspondence between one of its producers, Carrie Stevenson, and a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The exchanges roared into the news following Wednesday night’s CNN town hall meeting on gun violence. Colton Haab, 17, told a TV station in Florida that he was disappointed with the network: “CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” he told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV. He did not attend the town hall.

The “scripted” remarks acquired their own Internet nutritional system, feeding an attack that CNN was seeking to insert bias into the proceedings. CNN strenuously denied that claim on Thursday, both before and after President Trump picked up the story based on a report on the Fox News program “Tucker Carlson Tonight”:

In a post on Friday, the Erik Wemple Blog published excerpts from the emails in which Stevenson negotiated Haab’s participation in the event. Since then, the story has continued to develop: A CNN spokesman tells the Erik Wemple Blog that the network has received inquiries from other outlets stemming from what the network says are doctored portions of that correspondence that paint CNN in a negative light.

To counter those leaks, CNN has authorized the publication of the emails below. Here’s a list of proposed questions from Haab:


As Stevenson and Haab were discussing the matter, Colton Haab’s father, Glenn Haab, passed along several pages of “background” points that the family wanted Colton Haab to recite to contextualize the question that he was supposed to pose to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). After Stevenson examined the proposal, she wrote this email to Glenn Haab:


Glenn Haab responded as follows:


According to a CNN spokesman, Fox News and HuffPost on Friday presented the network with a misleading version of the second email as part of their due diligence in pursuing the story. Whereas the correspondence supplied by CNN, above, makes clear that Stevenson was insisting that Colton Haab use a question that he himself had already “submitted” — prefaced by a lead-in that the student had already articulated in a “Fox & Friends” appearance, and that Haab proposed in a phone call with Stevenson — the allegedly doctored version of the correspondence suggests a different scenario.

CNN has disclosed the email that Carlson’s Fox News program had inquired about. It chops off the part about “that he submitted,” as below:


A CNN source claims that the edit leaves the network open to the charge that it “dictated” the question and obscures the fact that Colton Haab submitted it.

A CNN spokesperson issued this statement: “The Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action Town Hall was intended to be a forum for students, parents and teachers to speak directly to the elected leaders and stakeholders that are at the center of this critical issue. 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. However, when presented with doctored email exchanges, we felt the need to set the record straight.”

“Background” text:

Opening statement:
page 1
Ladies & gentlemen, lawmakers, fellow students, parents, teachers, faculty – last Wednesday will change our lives forever. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of this horrific attack on our school. To me, it’s totally incomprehensible how this attacker was able to exit an Uber ride, walk into our freshman building and start shooting.
There’s been a lot of talk about Gun Control since this senseless attack. Many of my peers are in Tallahassee with lawmakers now – unfortunately yesterday did not go in the right direction for us.

I hope the much needed changes to Gun Laws can be made and implemented by the time the next generation (my kids) enters high school.
The way I see it- 3 main things have to happen:
1) Tighten up gun laws
2) Secure the school and make it safe
3) Defend the school

I BASED MY QUESTIONS TONIGHT ON #2 & # 3

Question 1)

The Number One responsibility of the Federal Government is: To keep Americans safe & secure.
We will be called back to school next week … How do we come back if Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is not safe?
Many of us students are afraid to go back until this school is safe & secure. Only 1 School Resource Officer cannot secure a 45 acre campus with multiple entry and exist points. So my 1st question is:
What is being done to drastically improve the security of the school?

Question 2)
page 2
There are armed security defending our President, Congressmen, court houses, IRS buildings, banks, jewelry stores, even the Smithsonian has guards with guns. Yet a gunman walked into our school’s freshman building with a rifle… and hero’s like Coach Fies ….unarmed… died trying to stop him. This is totally unacceptable.
Schools are defended with a sign that reads:
This is a gun free zone/it might as well also say:
(Call someone with a gun if there’s an emergency).
It is my opinion and the opinion of many – that this makes us an easy target for evil people to do their evil with little, if any resistance.

I personally would much rather see a sign that read:
“Please be aware that certain staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are legally armed and may use whatever force necessary to protect our students”.

We students should not have to beg to be kept safe.

I ask you: are our students’ lives not as significant as court documents?
As tax returns? As cash money? As a diamond ring or a fine watch?
ARE our lives, our security & safety not as important as old dinosaur bones?
My 2nd question is:
What measures are being taken to defend our school from future attacks?
And how can we get select faculty trained and armed to give them a fighting chance, if GOD forbid, there is another attack?

Question 3)

page 3
There are over 450,000 unemployed Veterans living in the United States.
Many are able, willing & trainable and would find a real purpose in the job of keep our schools safe and defend our students & faculty against evil.
What steps can be taken to utilize our select retired military in this capacity?

Closing Statement: page 4
President Trump, Governor Scott, Senators Nelson, Rubio and Deutch, Sherriff Israel, Superintendent Runcie, Principle Thompson – I urge you, the student body urges you, our parents urge you: to secure our school.

We cannot wait for legislative Gun Law Changes to be approved and implemented. We are going to be called back to school next week. We need Action Now! We have attended way too many funerals this week.

We need to make MSD SAFE Now!

Secure all Broward schools, secure all Florida Schools and secure all schools across this Nation.
The Number One responsibility of the Federal Government is:

To keep Americans safe & secure.

We students should not have to beg to be kept safe.

Please secure our school from outside threats from evil people and give the right people the training & tools needed to defend our lives. It’s time for a change! Don’t let the 17 lives lost last week be just another statistic.
Is time to make MSD SAFE! MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN

# MSD STRONG

Thank you!

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