Two popular Fox News hosts finally issued corrections Tuesday night for comments made on their shows last week suggesting CNN was forcing students to ask scripted questions at a town hall that aired following the deadly mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Fla.
First up was Tucker Carlson, who hosted 17-year-old shooting survivor Colton Haab on his show last week. After saying the initial response of the Haab family was “they were being slandered by CNN,” Carlson conceded that CNN did not appear to give Haab a scripted question.
“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,” Carlson said.
Tucker Carlson response to this tonight: https://t.co/K2Oc3MQR4e.
— Paul Farhi (@farhip) February 28, 2018
It’s not the first time Carlson has been forced to set the record straight following a mass shooting. Back in October, following the shooting that left 58 people dead in Las Vegas, Carlson issued a correction for promoting the baseless conspiracy that Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos had worked under someone else’s Social Security number.
Next up Tuesday was Sean Hannity, who also promoted Haab’s story. Near the end of his show, Hannity offered a “quick update” to set the record straight, noting, “Our job is always to strive for the truth and we want to correct the record.”
The hosts’ comments (and the subsequent criticism of CNN on Fox News and conservative websites throughout the week) were based on statements made by Haab, who declined an invitation to CNN’s town hall and claimed the network was trying to force him to ask a question he didn’t provide himself.
“Originally I had thought that it was going to be more of my own question and my own say, and then it turned out to be more of just a script,” Haab told Carlson last week. “And she had actually said that over the phone that I needed to stick to the script.”
Emails obtained by the Inquirer and Daily News, and later released by CNN, showed that a producer was simply trying to pare down a 700-word statement the student’s father wanted him to read into a single question that fit into the parameters of the televised debate.
Immediately, the takeaway for many conservative news outlets and pundits on Fox News appeared to be that CNN tried to alter Haab’s question in an attempt to promote a gun-control agenda, something the emails show didn’t happen. “Parkland student: CNN gave me ‘scripted’ questions on guns” is the headline the Washington Examiner went with, while the right-wing news website Breitbart published, “Parkland Student’s Father Says CNN Only Interested in ‘Certain Narrative.’” Gateway Pundit, which has been provided White House credentials despite regularly peddling baseless conspiracy theories, used, “CNN Refused to Allow Florida Shooting Hero Colton Haab to Ask Questions at Town Hall That Didn’t Fit Their Narrative.”
CNN released the emails after Glenn Haab, Colton Haab’s father, took a doctored set of emails to the Huffington Post and Fox News in an apparent attempt to discredit the network. Glenn Haab admitted to omitting several words from the email that made it appear CNN was trying to force his son into asking a question he didn’t approve of.
“There was nothing malicious behind it,” Glenn Haab told the Associated Press.
CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski praised Carlson for offering a correction on the story, but not without taking a shot at the Fox News host.
“I’d also point this information was available to him on Friday, when he attacked CNN for ‘hypocrisy’ but I am glad the record was corrected tonight none the less,” Kaczynski wrote on Twitter.
I'd also point this information was available to him on Friday, when he attacked CNN for "hypocrisy" but I am glad the record was corrected tonight none the less.
— andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) February 28, 2018