CDC’s Roybal campus in Atlanta, Georgia. (Image credit: James Gathany via Wikipedia)


Not to be confused with George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” the CDC were supposedly given their own seven-word/phrase list from the Trump administration the agency couldn’t cite on official documents according to the Washington Post. Those words and phrases were listed in the documentation for next year’s budget and included- vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based and science-based- seemingly tame compared to what Carlin’s were.


Of course, this comes after a year since the EPA was barred from sharing any climate change information with the public and removed all references to it from there website, which has since been rescinded. Regardless, it was reported that HHS (Health and Human Services) suggested some alternatives the CDC (part of HHS) could use to replace those seven words. For example- instead of evidence-based or science-based, an analyst could say, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”


While this edict from the Trump administration caused an uproar within the science community, HHS spokesperson Matt Lloyd recently sent a statement to CNN that disputed the mandate stating, “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.”


Even the HHS director chimed in with a memo (obtained by CNN) saying, “Science is and will remain the foundation of our work. CDC remains committed to our public health mission as a science- and evidence-based institution,” note the use of two of those banned phrases. Whether you believe the CDC was forbidden from using those words or not, there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to governmental agencies and what has been reported. Everything from crowd size to the recent overhaul of tax cuts is marred in some form of dispute of what the truth is, but at least we all can agree that science should be based on facts and evidence with words/phrases that directly correlate with the explanation of that information, right? 


Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com