Censored or Triggered:  7 words Off the CDC Budget Request for 2019

Scuttlebutt on social media is the banning of 7 words the CDC may NOT use in its 2019 budget request.  While researching, we came across multiple meltdowns on the left as many “triggered” words were supposedly included in the alleged censorship list.

The 7 censored / trigger words in question are:  ‘‘vulnerable,’’ ‘‘entitlement,’’ ‘‘diversity,’’ ‘‘transgender,’’ ‘‘fetus,’’ ‘‘evidence-based’’ and ‘‘science-based.’’

Here is the reported excerpt that has caused so much angst among social media followers:

The Trump administration has told agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year’s budget, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

Officials at a second agency were also told to use “Obamacare” instead of the Affordable Care Act to describe President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law and to use “exchanges” instead of “marketplaces” in reference to venues where people can buy federally subsidized health insurance, the Post reported.

The HHS spokesman pushed back on the report with the following statement:

The assertion that HHS has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” spokesman Matt Lloyd said in a statement.  “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,” he said.

The Chicago Tribune added this article excerpt:

At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in CDC’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.

The CDC has a budget of about $7 billion and more than 12,000 employees working across the nation and around the globe on everything from food and water safety to heart disease and cancer to infectious disease outbreak prevention. Much of the CDC’s work has strong bipartisan support.

Kelly told the analysts that “certain words” in the CDC’s budget drafts were being sent back to the agency for corrections. Three words that had been flagged in these drafts were “vulnerable,” “entitlement” and “diversity.” Kelly told the group she had been authorized to give verbal instructions about the remaining banned words.

ABCNews followed the leaders with this excerpt as well:

The National LGBTQ Task Force’s executive director, Rea Carey, slammed the alleged banning of the word “transgender,” saying, “It is disgraceful for a government to attempt to wipe away transgender people, women, and science. President Trump should be ashamed of himself,” Carey said.

Even going so far as to include Democrat Senator Merkley’s triggered colorful tweet in their article:

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., tweeted the cover of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” along with a link to the Post’s story, writing, “Banned words in Trump’s America apparently include “evidence-based,” “transgender,” and “vulnerable.” Are you kidding me?!?!”

One social media comment that bared light on the subject was:

H.R. 946 (111th): Plain Writing Act of 2010 states that reports need to be written to the audience. So if you read the news, yes it states that some words are to be avoided, however, those words are not to be used in budget documents or financial statements, the words can be used in reports to the medical field, or to any audience that has a clear idea of what the words mean. BUDGET DOCUMENTS, are in fact internally used by the government. Nobody is restricting the use of those words in official scientific or white papers.

and this other comment as well as worth adding…

Sexual biology does impact the treatment of disease and preventative measures needed to protect society. Gender “identity” does not. As such, the use of the term transgender in a budget report is not in any way helpful (other than as virtue signaling). “Diversity” and “Entitlement” are political buzzwords related to ideology rather than the science of disease and prevention.

The same applies to the term “Vulnerable.” It is a politically loaded term for which there are better options, when describing high-risk areas or groups. “Vulnerable” implies that a person or group is at risk of regardless of other circumstances. In fact, circumstance can in many cases prevent many diseases. For example, HIV transmission, at risk groups like drug users or homosexuals could be considered “vulnerable.” However, that vulnerability is related to circumstances of high-risk behaviors (dirty needles, unprotected sex) rather than an inherent group vulnerability.

Using these terms merely adds emotive and politicized language to what should be a very plain and simple report for a budget. They are not useful, and in fact, muddy the water for basic analysis. Words have meaning, factually, ideologically and emotionally. When you lace factual reports (financial, scientific, etc) with ideological and emotional buzzwords it effectively becomes propaganda.

But we think the best way to sum this controversy up is in the final words of this HHS quote:

People were surprised, people were not thrilled,” the HHS official said. “We all kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, God.’


Reuters   ChicagoTribune   ChicagoTribune   ABCNews