The seven censored words at the CDC – #CDC7words

Given the uproar I’d be surprised if you have not picked up on this, and yet knowing that you will most probably know about it does not prevent me writing about it because it is just so utterly bizarre.

The Alpha Source

A couple of days ago the Washington Post wrote about the CDC being given a list of words that they would no longer be permitted to use in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing.

The listed words identified include …

  • “vulnerable,”
  • “entitlement,”
  • “diversity,”
  • “transgender,”
  • “fetus,”
  • “evidence-based”
  • “science-based.”

Read on within that same article and we learn a few more things. We know who led this CDC meeting and that no explanation was given …

At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in the agency’s Office of Financial Services, according to the CDC analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.

We also know that the Washington Post did not rely upon just one source, but checked and verified this, and that this is probably not just the CDC …

Other CDC officials confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words.It’s likely that other parts of HHS are operating under the same guidelines regarding the use of these words, the analyst said.

The response of those at this meeting is exactly what you might anticipate …

The longtime CDC analyst, whose job includes writing descriptions of the CDC’s work for the administration’s annual spending blueprint, could not recall a previous time when words were banned from budget documents because they were considered controversial.

The reaction of people in the meeting was “incredulous,” the analyst said. “It was very much, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding?’ ”

“In my experience, we’ve never had any pushback from an ideological standpoint,” the analyst said.

Many news outlets that reported this originally refer to this Washington Post article, but other details are now starting to trickle out.


Within an update, The Washington Post reports that the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has imposed this ban within other agencies as well …

The Trump administration has informed multiple divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services that they should avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year’s budget.

… A second HHS agency received similar guidance to avoid using “entitlement,” “diversity” and “vulnerable,” according to an official who took part in a briefing earlier in the week. Participants at that agency were also told to use “Obamacare” instead of ACA, or the Affordable Care Act, and to use “exchanges” instead of “marketplaces” to describe the venues where people can purchase health insurance.

At the State Department, meanwhile, certain documents now refer to sex education as “sexual risk avoidance.”

They did manage to get somebody from the HHS to comment. HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said:

“The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process. HHS will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. HHS also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”

… but strangely enough Mr Lloyd was unable to identify any specific inaccuracies in The Washington Post’s report about words that are prohibited in CDC budget documents.

The CDC director did also post this to social media …

… which is fine, but that was not the claim. It was specifically ban upon words within documents for next year’s budget and not a CDC wide ban.

Other Words

If indeed the Republican “snowflakes” can’t cope with sensitive words within budget proposals then perhaps they can say the same but with different words …

  • “Products of conception” = “fetus”
  • “Evidenced” = “evidence-based”
  • “Scienced” = “science-based” “
  • Legally promised benefit” = “entitlement”
  • “Non-cisgender” = “transgender”
  • “Those mocked and maligned by the Right” = “vulnerable”
  • “All the colors of the wind” = “diversity”

There are also other words that have not been banned yet, here are seven of them…

  • Absurd
  • Ridiculous
  • Bizarre
  • Orwellian
  • Daft
  • Censorship
  • Freedom of speech

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“When fanaticism is bubbling up around us – then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles.” — #CarlSagan

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