Fox News is backing down from a story that said CNN gave scripted questions to Colton Haab, a student who survived the massacre in Parkland, Florida during its town hall discussion of gun violence in America last week.
On their respective shows Tuesday evening, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity backed away from the story after news emerged that Haab’s father had doctored emails and removed key phrases that served to incriminate CNN.
“For the sake of honesty and full disclosure to which we are committed, we have to tell you there is no evidence as of right now that CNN tried to give Colton Haab a scripted question, and we wanted you to know that,” said Tucker Carlson about 15 minutes into his show.
Toward the end of his show, Hannity’s remarks were even briefer.
“What Haab told all news outlets last week was inaccurate. Our job is always to strive for the truth and we want to correct the record”
First Tucker, now @seanhannity also backing off story that CNN offered scripted questions to a Florida shooting survivor.
"What [Colton Haab] told all news outlets last week was inaccurate. Our job is always to strive for the truth and we want to correct the record" pic.twitter.com/WEDxyTsM3m
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) February 28, 2018
It’s unclear whether the channel plans to issue an apology for running with the story, a rep for the network declined to do so on Wednesday.
Haab’s story was reported on Friday after he told a local news station in Florida that CNN had refused to allow him to ask a question at the town hall about arming teachers and had offered him a “scripted” question instead.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab told WPLG-TV.
“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,”
“Colton wrote questions about school safety, suggested using veterans as armed school security guards but claims CNN wanted him to ask a scripted question instead so he decided not to go”
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) February 22, 2018
CNN offered a swift denial of the claim that same day and invited Haab to appear on their airwaves to discuss his idea.
“There is absolutely no truth to this. CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever,” the company said in a statement to TheWrap.
“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.”