Over the last 24 hours, more evidence that CNN engaged in agenda-driven reporting and programming revolving around the horrific Parkland shooting has come to light. A heroic student survivor, another student’s father, and now one of the speaker’s at the CNN town hall on gun control have made claims that suggest CNN “scripted’ or shaped their reporting in an overt way in order to further the network’s gun control agenda.
As The Daily Wire has highlighted, ROTC member Colton Haab, who shielded his fellow students with Kevlar during the shooting, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Thursday evening that a CNN producer reached out to him about appearing at the town hall, but last second told him he could only ask a question written out for him by the network, telling him to “stick to the script.” (Update: On Friday, CNN pushed back on Haab’s claim, releasing emails of the exchange between Haab and the producer. Read more here.) The same night, a parent of one of the student survivors accused CNN of admitting to trying to find people to interview who would “espouse a certain narrative which was taking the tragedy and turning it into a policy debate.”
In an interview with The Federalist Radio Hour Podcast Thursday, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch revealed more details suggesting CNN deliberately orchestrated the town hall to stir up anti-gun and anti-NRA emotions, including neglecting to give Loesch any context for the event, protecting pro-gun control speaker Sen. Bill Nelson, and allowing angry activists to accuse Loesch of being a “murderer” and call for violence against her.
Loesch stressed that she was given no prior information about what she was walking into. “I had nothing in advance,” Loesch told the Federalist. “I didn’t know how the setup was going to be. I didn’t know it was going to be in a giant arena where it was 360 all the way around. I had no clue.”
Prior to her appearance, CNN appears to have taken steps to ramp up the crowd’s emotions.
“They had music that was playing,” said Loesch. “They had montages that they were flashing across the screen. They had a number of speakers from the school and from the community. They had the sheriff go up and speak. He mentioned special interest groups, referring to the membership of the NRA. Then they brought the politicians out . . . and that was the first hour.”
After all the buildup, CNN had Loesch enter as if she were “a boxer” or in the “WWE.”
“After all of this was already happening, after emotions were already running high, and after CNN put everyone together and cranked up, really trying to wind people up even more,” she said. “I had no questions in advance. It was even weird the way they had us walk out because it was like entering like you were a boxer or like WWE. You were walking up to the stage and they had music playing. You had to walk in aisles with all these people screaming and you had to walk toward the stage.”
At one moment, the moderator, Jake Tapper, gave Nelson an out, telling him he didn’t have to answer what appeared to be an unscripted question. Though he stepped in to protect Nelson, no such protection was offered Loesch throughout the night.
“I don’t know if he lost control or if that was CNN’s intention, because [CNN President] Jeff Zucker was there,” said Loesch, adding, “He doesn’t just show up for nothing. This is not a day at the ballpark. It was weird. There was no control. It just went on forever and ever. At some point, you’re just desensitized, because where is the moderation? This is where a moderator drives this. You’re a moderator, you have to make sure people are being heard and it’s not just people standing up and giving speeches and screaming at somebody.”