The father of a student who sprang into action during the Florida school shooting last week reportedly doctored an email before claiming that CNN fed the teen a scripted question for a town hall event on gun control.
Colton Haab, 17, dropped out of the event, saying that CNN executive producer Carrie Stevenson scripted a question for him to ask lawmakers in Sunrise, Fla., on Wednesday.
The teen’s father, Glenn Haab, sent a Word document of their email exchange with Stevenson to Fox News and HuffPost — before a CNN source presented a different version of the exchange to Business Insider.
President Trump jumped on the controversy to launch his well-worn attack on the media.
“Just like so much of CNN, Fake News. That’s why their ratings are so bad! MSNBC may be worse,” he tweeted early Friday.
Remembering the victims of the Florida high school massacre
However, a CNN spokesperson shot back on Friday, in a statement accusing Glenn Haab of trying to “discredit CNN and the town hall with doctored emails.”
In both versions of the email, Stevenson rejects a speech the teen wrote and tries to pin the teenager down to one question she typed out “so that we can get to as many people as possible.”
In the CNN version, Stevenson states, “This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone that he submitted. He needs to stick to this.”
The CNN source also said the question was composed of “verbatim language” Colton used in a previous exchange.
But in Glenn Haab’s version, the words “that he submitted” were missing, and the email, along with the teen’s interviews, made it appear as if Stevenson cooked up the question about the possibility of arming teachers herself.
The father responded to Stevenson, writing, “We are not actors nor do we read from a script…I[f] you want Colton only to read this one short question — we are not the right people for your town hall meeting.”
The metadata of the Word document Glenn Haab shared with Fox News also showed that he was the last person to edit it, Business Insider reported.
Colton Haab ushered 60 to 70 people into a Junior ROTC room at the school when the gunman started his deadly rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
He grabbed the Kevlar sheets used in the marksmanship program and used them to shield his fellow students.
“I didn’t think it was going to stop (the bullets) but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing,” the teenager told CNN.