Right-wing websites were already conspiring to smear the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School literally while the incident was still underway.
Forty-seven minutes after news broke of a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the posters on the anonymous chat board 8chan had devised a plan to bend the public narrative to their own designs: “Start looking for [Jewish] numerology and crisis actors.”
They went forward with that plan in Youtube videos that portrayed the students as actors being fed lines—and their efforts got a pair of thumbs up from Donald Trump Jr., who seems to appreciate a good conspiracy. All of which made anonymous posters from 4Chan and 8Chan ecstatic.
“Extra thanks if you’re spreading info or memes about this kid. It’s already breaking through the normie-sphere. KEEP PUSHING!”
But even the alt-Reich conspirators probably didn’t think they would get assistance—from the father of one of the students.
[Colton] Haab told the Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night that CNN executive producer Carrie Stevenson gave him a question to deliver to lawmakers and told him to "stick to the script."
To support his statement, Glenn Haab produced an email intended to show that CNN was trying to force his son Colton to deliver a scripted statement. Naturally, Fox News and Carlson were hip-deep in the “crisis actor” meme, and launched into full attack mode stating that the students were simply pawns of left-wing forces, and that the powerful statements many students had been making were simply lines being fed to them by CNN and others.
Except that Glenn Haab doctored the emails. An act that didn’t just attack CNN, but hurt the other students at his son’s school.
The problem seems to have started when Colton Haab submitted a question he wanted to ask at CNN’s town hall and was invited to speak. After Colton got that invitation, Glenn Haab instead wrote back to CNN with a lengthy statement that he wanted his son to give instead. CNN correspondent Carrie Stephenson responded that the statement was too long and that instead they needed to stick to the question Colton had submitted himself.
“This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone that he submitted.”
But to support his contention that CNN was trying to make Colton follow a script written for him by someone else, Glenn Haab shopped to the media an email that simply said.
“This is what Colton and I discussed on the phone.”
The doctored emails immediately made the rounds and were used as “proof” that CNN was driving the narrative rather than the students. After his father told CNN that Colton would not participate in the town hall, Colton was interviewed by both local and national news and said that CNN had actually asked for a long speech and then substituted a question of their own.
"CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted," Haab said.
Only … no. Colton submitted a question, CNN accepted the question and offered him a time to speak. Then when the elder Haab attempted to expand that slot into a lengthy speech and three questions rather than one, CNN simply reminded them both that there was limited time and asked that Colton stick to the question he had written and submitted.
And then Glenn Haab manufactured a story that did harm to Colton’s fellow students and fed into the conspiracy machine.
Haab acknowledges omitting some words from the email but says he didn't do it on purpose.
The only problem with Haab’s “didn’t do it on purpose” claim, is that the words he omitted were dead in the center of the email. It’s difficult to think of any scenario in which those words were left out, other than one in which they were specifically selected and deleted. An action that perfectly served the needs of people who are attacking students and their families—people who are still attacking the families of students at Sandy Hook.
And the motivation behind it all doesn’t seem to be any better thought out than wanting more time on national TV. And if that’s what Haab wanted … he’s getting it.