It's a dark day for democracy when the government starts banning words. But is that exactly what happened when the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was presented with a list of seven sensitive words at a meeting on Thursday? The Washington Post reported that these seven words were "forbidden" from being used in official documents pertaining to next year's budget. But the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, is singing a different tune. What's the real story here? Is Trump really banning words from being used?
According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration banned the words "diversity," "fetus," "transgender," "vulnerable," "entitlement," "transgender," "science-based," and "evidence-based" from official CDC budget documents.
These are the 7 words the Trump administration has banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using… https://t.co/ZvmQeiMGeJ— CNN (@CNN)1513575968.0
Obviously, if true, this move by the Trump administration would be positively fascist, and Twitter erupted in anger.
Need to pause and take in: people are posting the 7 words banned by the CDC, in protest. That is where we are folk… https://t.co/3UC0CTxQe5— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈)1513525422.0
Congressman Ted Lieu had strong words for Donald Trump's administration following the release of this new report.
The @realDonaldTrump Administration is MAKING AMERICA STUPID AGAIN. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bann… https://t.co/1tXGl5MJMG— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu)1513393873.0
The news of banned words really feels like a dramatic step backward.
In addition to the banned words, it is now illegal for the women of the CDC to make eye contact with Mike Pence and… https://t.co/bThPmZ92W5— The Volatile Mermaid (@The Volatile Mermaid)1513564712.0
This Twitter user shared a different list of seven words...
While we're on the subject, I can think of at least seven words for someone who would censor the language of a coun… https://t.co/kXWp9YZscv— Nick Jack Pappas (@Nick Jack Pappas)1513449685.0
Not according to Dr. Brenda Fitzegerald, the director of the CDC.
I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH)1513526248.0
Here, she explains that the CDC will remain committed to their "public health mission as a science- and evidence-based institution."
You may be understandably concerned about recent media reports alleging that CDC is banned from using certain words… https://t.co/FOpgMoAHO1— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH)1513533603.0
She then quotes a statement from the HHS concerning the list of supposedly banned words:
HHS statement addressing media reports: "The assertion that HHS has 'banned words' is a complete mischaracterizatio… https://t.co/SaIz9jERxl— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH)1513534718.0
This is perhaps not as scary as these words being outright banned, but it sure is sad and terrible.
via: Getty ImagesAnd the move could still have disastrous consequences. According to PBS, "some in the scientific community said that forbidding certain words could help change the direction of policies at the CDC." Even if the words aren't banned, the fact that they're discouraged from being used could mean less than adequate attention is paid to the issues in which these words would play major roles.
So whether the words were outright banned or not, the list could have disastrous consequences for policies at the CDC. This pussyfooting around backward Republicans may be a short-term strategy for policy wins, but it's going to hurt the American people in the long run. As a result, many are proudly using the seven "banned" words in any way they can:
As a proud transgender American and military veteran, I don't believe there's an evidence-based justification for t… https://t.co/b37dpKiQEW— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1513457723.0