Nationally syndicated radio show host and National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch slammed the decision to honor CNN with an award for a televised town hall in which she was heckled, days after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school last year.
On Tuesday, CNN announced that it had received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for its “Parkland Town Hall,” held after the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. The University of Southern California's Norman Lear Center commended the liberal network for a “compelling and powerful forum” and praised CNN anchor Jake Tapper for offering a “generous space” for the Parkland students, politicians, and the NRA representative, adding that the town hall helped “advance the national conversation on gun control and violence.”
Loesch took issue with that assessment on Twitter, however.
“Is this a joke? Seriously,” Loesch tweeted.
The conservative pundit then shared several clips showing a hostile crowd booing and yelling “shame on you,” which she insisted did not “advance the conversation on gun control.”
“This is what happened when the cameras turned off at CNN’s award-winning town hall. They’re proud of it,” Loesch wrote.
She then accused CNN of purposefully setting up the town hall “like a WWE event” and allowing Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to take the stage before the cameras were turned on and spent 20 minutes “blaming law-abiding gun owners.”
Loesch also alleged that a woman “rushed to the stage to tackle me from behind” but was stopped by someone from her detail, which prompted Tapper to ask her if she had an escort out. She insisted that CNN had captured the entire exchange on camera and called on the network to release the footage.
“I showed up in good faith for genuine conversation knowing that at best, it would be a tough event. The lengths CNN went to inflame emotions & exploit pain to *put on a show* is inexcusable, shameful, & it’s grotesque they’re celebrating getting an ‘award’ for their conduct,” she continued. “Those with integrity would reject this absolute sham of an award. But, narratives and ratings. Congrats on the ‘show,’ CNN. Applause, applause.”
Loesch and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., were not entirely welcome; they were grilled by distraught students and parents affected by the shooting and unhappy with their gun stance.
Sheriff Israel, who spent much of his time attacking the NRA, was suspended earlier this year by Gov. Ron DeSantis for his office’s mishandling of the shooting and for overlooking several red flags that might have prevented the shooter from obtaining a gun.
In all, 17 people were killed in the Parkland shooting.