Colton Haab vs CNN: Cutting Through The Media Dishonesty

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Colton Haab is a hero, there is no doubt about that.

Before the article continues, let’s reiterate what Colton Haab did.

Colton Haab, at the time of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, was a 17-year-old Junior ROTC.
He heard gunshots and immediately went into action.

Colton shepherded 60 to 70 students to shelter in an open Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps room, where, according to Colton, he “took [Kevlar sheets],” and “put them in front of everybody so they weren’t seen, “because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down.”

His heroic actions showcase an incredible skill to think, act, and remain tactful in the event of something frightening.

Later on, the Haab family would find themselves in a controversy as Colton and his father accused CNN of giving him a scripted question, which would later be the catalyst that encouraged him to drop out from the town hall meeting that CNN hosted.

“I felt like it would be the right thing to do, to be able go speak my part as well as open eyes to a few things that I thought could make this situation a little better,” Colton told Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

“They had taken what I had wrote and what I had briefed on and talked about, and they actually wrote the question for me,” Haab continued.

Glenn, Colton Haab’s father, then responded that he and his son “are not actors” and that Colton would not participate in the town hall if he could not read the full speech.

According to the emails CNN released, when cross-referencing it to Colton’s story, it is accurate that Colton had written a speech.

Carrie Stevenson, from CNN, did in fact tell Colton’s dad that his speech was too long and that he needed to stick to the agreed-upon question.

“Senator Nelson, if Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he could have most likely stopped the threat. Have we thought about having a class for teachers who are willing to be armed trained to carry on campus?” Carrie Stevenson wrote in an email.

Left wing media, similar to what right wing media did to the anti-gun activist students, is attempting to discredit Colton Haab’s story with headlines suggesting that Colton’s father “doctored” the emails and pushed a false narrative.

Did Colton’s father selectively edit the emails? Did CNN tell Colton to stick to a script? The not-so-complex answer is being reported in a more nuanced manner than it needs to be.

It is a fact that Colton’s father did make a minor edit to the emails that slightly changes the context, if you’re reaching for the bottom of the barrel. However, in that same barrel, you’re reaching for the bottom if you imply that the unedited emails make any difference to the intended purpose of the Haab family’s allegations.

To briefly explain Colton’s father’s omission, or edit: He removed the phrase “that he submitted,” which made it read “That is really way too long. These are quick questions so that we can get to as many people as possible. This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone. He needs to stick to this.” which should have read “That is really way too long. These are quick questions so that we can get to as many people as possible. This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone that he submitted. He needs to stick to this.”

The headlines pictured above would have you believe that this invalidates Haab’s story. It doesn’t.

Despite the edit that Glenn made, which can be interpreted as deceptive, it doesn’t do anything to invalidate Colton’s or Glenn’s story.

As Colton explained in his interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, he was in contact with Carrie Stevenson and wrote a speech that he wanted to give at the town hall.

Carrie said it was too long which is something Colton Haab verified.

Colton submitted questions. Once more, the email and Colton’s story are in synchronization.

Colton stated that Carrie insisted that he stick to the question. Colton and the email confirmed this.

Colton also stated that CNN wrote his question for him. This is where it gets fuzzy due to misleading headlines, bad journalistic integrity, and a lack of precision in language.

Did CNN write Colton’s question for him? Simple answer: yes. Where journalistic integrity falls short in hyper partisan media, is the lack of explanation.

The Haab family sent several questions, as revealed in the email.

Carrie Stevenson rewrote the question as “Senator Nelson, if Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he could have most likely stopped the threat. Have we thought about having a class for teachers who are willing to be armed trained to carry on campus,” which is confirmed in the email.

Remember, in the Tucker Carlson interview, Colton said that Carrie had took what they briefed on and wrote the question out for him.

Colton’s story, despite attempts by CNN and left wing media, accurately reflects what was in the emails.

The entire reason why the Haab family went to Fox News was to shine a light on the fact that Colton was being guided on what he was allowed to talk about. He was told to stick to the question so the other guests could have time to speak.

This is backed up by Glenn’s response to Carrie via email.

“We are not actors nor do we read from a script. We are real people and a lot of thought went into these questions. The short background before each question is extremely relevant to each question. If you want Colton only to read this one short question – we are not the right people for your town hall meeting.”

Where we need to be careful is when we share and talk about Colton’s story. Because just as the left is misconstruing the story, it is insanely easy for the right to do it as well.

CNN, in this case, was not writing a random question for Colton. In this case, CNN was watering down Colton’s question and telling him that he needed to stick to the specific question.

Colton and Glenn Haab took issue because they felt like they weren’t going to be able to elaborate their thoughts and feelings. They wanted to speak their own genuine words, not a watered down reimagining of their questions and thoughts. This scandal highlights the problem with cable TV. Cable TV relies on time constraints. As a result, genuine thoughts end up watered down into bite sized pieces.

To interject a tad bit, what gives off a sense of distraught among the pro-Second Amendment community and what makes the right feel gross towards CNN is that fact that they told Colton to stick to a question, and they told Colton his speech was too long.

But at the same time it was perfectly acceptable for Cameron Kasky to look Senator Marco Rubio in the face and tell him that “It’s hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15,” as well as comparing Rubio to the criminal that killed 17 people.

It’s not permitted for Colton Haab, a hero, to give a well thought out speech and ask questions they way he wanted to, but it’s perfectly acceptable that the audience can call Dana Loesch, a mother, a “murderer,” by a crowd that continuously heckled and booed her while the host stood by and said nothing.

It’s okay for the pro-second amendment guests to be outnumbered by the audience and the panelists, but Colton Haab, the Junior ROTC who in the face of fear led students to safety, must have his message and genuine thoughts and feelings go through a CNN producer to be filtered for the sake of time constraints.

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