While several survivors of last week’s school shooting in Florida have become vocal proponents for gun control in recent days, at least a few students are accusing the media of attempting to feed them talking points ahead of a televised town hall event Wednesday.
As Real Clear Politics reported, the allegation began with Colton Haab.
He claimed that CNN, which hosted the town hall, provided him a “scripted question” to ask.
Ariana Klein, one of Haab’s schoolmates, built on his accusations during an appearance Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle.”
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior, who attended a White House listening session instead of the town hall, said she was upset that organizers of an event meant to draw out the opinions of participants allegedly tried to stack the ideological deck.
“Our voices need to be heard and (Haab) should have been able to ask any question he had to ask,” she said. “But instead we have these networks that don’t want us to give our real opinions and they want us to further their own agendas.”
Host Laura Ingraham suggested that the CNN event did not feature a diversity of thought on the topic of gun control, prompting a response from Klein’s father, who was also interviewed for the segment.
Andrew Klein described himself as a Republican and a responsible gun owner, going on to complain about what he considered uninformed opinions being expressed by some politicians.
“So I agree we need to make some headway,” he said. “We need to raise the age to buy a rifle, I agree with the president on that. But beyond that, a lot of these folks are yelling ‘gun control, gun control’ really don’t have a great grasp on what they’re talking about.”
He also echoed Haab’s concerns, noting that a CNN producer called him prior to the town hall with a suspicious request.
After ending the call, he said he was convinced the network was “looking for people who were willing to espouse a certain narrative” regarding gun control.
CNN issued a blanket denial of Haab’s allegations following his appearance Wednesday night on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“There is absolutely no truth to this,” the network wrote. “CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever.”
The statement indicated that “Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected.”
As WPLG reported, Haab claimed he was initially asked to “write a speech and questions,” though he said “it ended up being all scripted.”
CNN confirmed that Haab was welcome to appear on the network “to discuss his views on school safety.”
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