The father of a Florida shooting survivor acknowledged Tuesday that he omitted words in an email he sent media outlets accusing CNN of using scripted remarks for a town hall on guns.
CNN denied the allegations and released emails between a producer and a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to prove it did not tell the student what to say.
The student’s father, Glenn Haab, told The Associated Press that he omitted some words from the email to Fox News and the Hufftington Post but that he didn’t do it on purpose.
“There was nothing malicious behind it,” he said.
Dozens of conservative websites picked up on the altered email and called it proof that the Feb. 21 forum was slanted against gun rights. President Donald Trump tweeted : “Just like so much of CNN, Fake News!”
CNN said the event was not scripted, and released email exchanges between producer Carrie Stevenson, the student, Colton Haab, and his father.
In one exchange, the 17-year-old student proposes several questions to ask at the town hall, including one on whether to arm teachers. The father, a Republican gun owner, later emailed Stevenson a four-page document with a roughly 700-word speech and a series of questions he said Colton wanted to ask.
Stevenson told the father that the additional language he proposed was “way too long” and that Colton would need to stick to the question “that he submitted.” CNN said Stevenson had discussed which one of Colton’s several questions to ask at the forum and mutually agreed on one.
CNN said the producer helped Colton form a single question using his own words and a statement he made during another television appearance. Stevenson said CNN wanted short questions so as many people as possible could speak at the two-hour forum.
“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,” the network said in a statement.