Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is so eager to destroy CNN for not being a pro-Trump cheerleader that it will embrace any claim to make it look bad.
It's in that spirit that the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro breathlessly wrote in a Feb. 22 post:
The Wednesday CNN town hall promoting gun bans and moderated by Jake Tapper was arguably a train wreck from the beginning. Between a student saying Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reminded him of the shooter and shouts of ‘murderer’ at NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, it was out of control. But in the wee hours of Thursday morning, things got worse for the anti-gun network when the local Florida ABC affiliate WPLG-TV reported that CNN had been planting questions.
The whistleblower was Colton Haab, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who heroically shielded his fellow students from the bullets with sheets of Kevlar and was a member of the Junior ROTC program. “I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab told reporter Janine Stanwood.
“CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted,” Haab added. “I don’t think that it’s going to get anything accomplished. It’s not going to ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”
Stanwood noted that being given scripted questions was something Haab couldn’t stand for: “Colton wrote questions about school safety, suggested using veterans as armed school security guards, but claims CNN wanted him to ask a scripted question instead. So he decided not to go.”
CNN quickly responded to Haab's claim by denying it, stating that "CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night's town hall, nor have we ever." But Fondacaro couldn't be bothered to update his post; instead, he whined: "The questions asked by attendees were grossly slanted for the liberal anti-gun agenda. In all, there were 23 questions asked between the two segments (politicians and spokespeople). Not included in the total were repeated questions during arguments, but follow-ups were counted. Of those 23, 17 were asked from the left, five from the center, and only one from the right." Fondacaro provided no evidence to back up this claim.
Several hours later, Fondacaro finally got around to noting CNN's response in a separate post. He again repeated his unsupported claims about tyhe purported slant of questions during the forum, then irrelevantly brought up other alleged examples in previous CNN forums. He went on to suggest that CNN was lying:
But CNN’s assertion that they didn’t script Wednesday night’s event might not hold up well under scrutiny. And when it came to their claim that they never had a scripted event or planted questions, it’s easy to discover they have a long history of planting questions and tipping the balance of discussions.
CNN can deny that they scripted the town hall this time, but saying they never scripted anything at all was going too far. In fact, given their history, their denials should be received with great skepticism.
Fondacaro's earlier post does not provide a link to this one, which tells us he's not exactly interested in fairness and balance.
After President Trump picked up on Haab's claims, CNN released the emails between it and the Haab family before the forum. They show that the Haab family released an edited version of one email to falsely support the "scripted" narrative; in reality, CNN wanted Colton to ask a question that he himself had proposed.
Fondacaro has yet to acknowledge that CNN is right.