In a move that has rocked social media progressives to their very core, the Trump Administration has issued a list of seven “banned words” to the Center for Disease Control, restricting the agency from using terms like “fetus” and “transgender” in its 2019 budget proposals.
According to a briefing received by several CDC officials, monetary requests submitted to Congress for consideration in next year’s federal budget should not include the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
For the latter two terms, the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees such submissions, suggests authors use less “politically charged” language: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”
The Washington Post reported breathlessly on the ban, implying that the Trump White House was using the CDC to make its first stand against science. Activists immediately accused the Administration of censorship, even hysterically comparing the Administration’s move to Orwell’s “1984” and Adolf Hitler’s efforts to control information in Nazi Germany.
Despite the CDC’s own director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, insisting the ban did not extend beyond the scope of a handful of budget documents, it was immediately clear to Democrats that the Trump Administration was moving to throttle all scientific research.
The “ban” seems to come in response to Obama Administration efforts to expand the CDC’s purview into research areas more closely aligned with social justice factors than with disease prevention, but it’s not clear the Trump Administration will achieve its objective of “de-politicizing” the CDC and other affiliated organizations by issuing strict language restrictions that directly impact progressive causes.
It’s a nice way to throw red meat to conservatives unsure of the White House’s priorities in certain areas, but by dropping things like “science-based” and “evidence-based” from the CDC’s language, it also reinforces the idea that conservatives, generally, and Republicans, specifically, are quarreling with so-called “scientific consensus” on issues like abortion, instead of possessing an entirely different set of ideals from their progressive foes.
Long-term, the efforts at “banning” certain concepts will likely do more harm than good.