Trump Administration Censors CDC?



The Trump Administration has been accused of censoring the CDC by prohibiting the use of seven words and phrases from documentation being prepared for the 2019 budget, according to The Washington Post.

Policy analysts for the CDC were given the list on Oct. 14, 2017, during a meeting with senior officials who oversee the CDC budget. The alleged terms are:

  • vulnerable
  • entitlement
  • diversity
  • transgender
  • fetus
  • evidence-based
  • science-based

It was suggested that instead of using the terms evidence-based or science-based, the CDC write, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” No other suggestions were offered.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees the CDC and stated they will continued to use science and evidence-based data to improve the health of Americans. They also suggested the use of outcome data for evaluations and budgeting decisions.

In March, HHS excluded questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two of its surveys and archived any information about LGBT Americans from the website.

The censorship of the seven words is related to the budget and supporting materials the CDC gives to Congress and its partners.

Several offices are responsible for work that uses many of these terms such as The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention that is working on ways to prevent HIV among the transgender community. There is a division working on birth defects caused by the Zika virus, which includes research on the developing fetus.

The 2019 budget is expected to be released in February 2018. It is formed to reflect the priorities of the administration.

The analyst who writes the descriptions of the work the CDC is doing for the Trump administration’s annual spending blueprint said, they can not remember any other time the documents were censored because they were considered controversial. According to the analyst, reactions were of an incredulous nature: “Are you serious? Are you kidding?” The analyst had never received “pushback from an ideological standpoint.”

The subject-matter experts will not take the censorship lightly once they are aware, according to the analyst.

The CDC has a $7 billion budget and over 12,000 employees around the world. They study everything from water and food safety, to cancer and heart disease, to infectious disease prevention. In general, the CDC has bipartisan support.

According to Snopes, HHS released a statement denying censorship. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald tweeted, on Dec. 17, 2017, that no words have been banned from their documentation.

I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.

This is not the first time the Trump administration has been accused of censorship. According to Snopes, the New York Times reported on Oct. 20, 2017 that the Environmental Protection Agency’s website had been altered to downplay global warming. Several links had been removed from the website that were collected to help official prepare for severe changes in weather.

By Jeanette Smith


The Washington Post: CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity
Snopes: Trump Administration Bans CDC Officials From Using Certain Words?

Image Courtesy of Benjamin Reay’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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