While conspiracy theories have always been rather popular among conservatives, since the election of Donald Trump they’ve become mainstream. Being a mentally unhinged conspiracy-pusher himself, Trump’s managed to make conspiracies about “deep state motives being led by the FBI to remove him from office” and “paid actors being funded by George Soros to come after guns” following the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida into normal, routine discussions among conservatives and the right-wing media peddling these absurd lies.
Such as the conspiracy being pushed by many on the right that CNN scripted questions they then gave to students during their Parkland town hall to go after guns, the NRA, and Trump.
This all stems from a story Colton Haab told after withdrawing from the town hall alleging that CNN was trying to script the question he was going to ask.
Except that’s not what happened.
The truth is that Haab wanted to read a very long statement he had prepared filled with a lot of questions that CNN told him was simply too long since they wanted to give as many people as possible a chance to speak. CNN then requested Haab come up with several questions, eventually leading to a phone call where a network producer and Haab then discussed a specific question they agreed he was going to ask.
And we know this because CNN has released the back and forth exchange with Haab, contradicting the story he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the network was trying to get him to read a question that they wrote — not him.
Maybe the young man was simply confused about what CNN was asking of him. The reason why Haab decided to tell an inaccurate story concerning all of this is anybody’s guess. Regardless of why Haab’s story doesn’t match up with the facts as we now know them from CNN’s release of the email exchange, it’s clear that in no way did CNN try to write a scripted question for him.
Now it seems someone is out there pushing a blatantly doctored version of the email exchange that makes it appear that CNN did script the question.
As reported by Mediaite:
The change leaves out the important context from the original email, which included “that he submitted,” making clear that the question came from Colton.
According to a CNN source, after Colton sent over his list of questions he wanted to ask at the town hall, Stevenson spoke on the phone with the student to decide on which question he’d use. The framing language for the question that was emailed over later came verbatim from a Fox & Friends interview Colton had done that helped draw CNN’s attention to him.
Prior to Stevenson sending Colton’s father the email asking that Colton “stick” to the question that he submitted, the source noted that Glenn had been in touch with Stevenson telling her that Colton would like to be given an opportunity to say more. At one point, Glenn emailed over a multi-page speech that was laced with questions and comments that Colton would prefer to read instead, thus prompting Stevenson’s email requesting Colton stay with the one question.
As with most other conspiracies pushed by the right-wing, once the facts were revealed, all this turned out to be nothing. Though that clearly hasn’t stopped someone out there from doctoring the email exchange and trying to shop them around hoping that they get picked up by the conservative media to help them spread yet another completely ridiculous conspiracy.
This is just another example of how desperate the right-wing has become to continue protecting and defending their draconian, completely ridiculous propaganda — especially about guns — that more and more Americans are finally standing up to and saying, “Enough is enough!”