HHS denies banning words at CDC, says they're "recommendations"

The federal government is kinda, sorta pushing back at the notion it’s banning certain words within Centers for Disease Control halls by telling The New York Times they’re just suggestions.

“The assertion that H.H.S. has ‘banned words’ is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process,” an agency spokesman, Matt Lloyd, said in an email. “H.H.S. will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans. H.H.S. also strongly encourages the use of outcome and evidence data in program evaluations and budget decisions.”…

The Times confirmed some details of the report with several officials, although a few suggested that the proposal was not so much a ban on words but recommendations to avoid some language to ease the path toward budget approval by Republicans.

Gotta freaking love politics. Not. Jazz has already looked at the stupidity of this, and he’s right. There’s no reason for HHS to say words like, “transgender,” “fetus,” or “entitlement,” should be banned from government documents. The fact this appears to be done to make sure the Republicans are okay with the budget is just beyond stupid. It’s catering to a certain sect of people who have issues with words, plus could be a way to make certain allocations of money more palatable to more budget hawks, who don’t want to appear hypocritical to voters. After all, it’s a lot easier for a GOP Congressman to say, “It’s not an entitlement program. Promise.”

It’s also completely different from when former President Barack Obama signed into law rules updating the use of certain words relating to minorities in government documents. For one, the rules went through the Constitutional process of Congress first approving the change because they’re the ones who make the rules for the government. The 2016 change also doesn’t appear to be because of budgetary reasons, but just to refer to some of the changes in language in general, even if I’ve never heard the phrase “Alaskan American,” but I don’t live in Alaska.

The “suggestions,” or directive, or whatever it is has been roundly criticized. Via NYT:

“It’s absurd and Orwellian, it’s stupid and Orwellian, but they are not saying to not use the words in reports or articles or scientific publications or anything else the C.D.C. does,” the former official said. “They’re saying not to use it in your request for money because it will hurt you. It’s not about censoring what C.D.C. can say to the American public. It’s about a budget strategy to get funded.”

A former C.D.C. official, who asked not to be identified, said that some staff members were upset because the purported ban suggested that their work was being politicized.

“I don’t know exactly who said what in the meeting, but I have to assume this came from H.H.S. people, because they’re the ones who have to make the budget,” the former official said. “I’ve also heard that some of the words might have been a little misconstrued. “‘Science-based’ and ‘evidence-based’ might not have been considered as unusable as the others.”

Sally Kohn called Trump a dictator on Twitter for the newer language, but I’m not 100% that’s an appropriate critique. The notion of word-banning has more to do with what the government tells its citizens what they can or cannot say, not necessarily what government agencies can use in their own documents. It’s still dull-witted, and should be reconsidered.

There’s a bigger question to this, which no one else is really asking. Why do HHS documents have to include these terms anyway? The American government is far too large and intrusive as it is. The CDC was created in the 40’s, taking over work done by the private Rockefeller Foundation in trying to get malaria under control in the U.S. and the world. It’s gotten involved in more and more things as its budget has grown over the decades. They’ve certainly got great facilities, but is it really the job of the federal government to remind people to get their flu shot, or should it be up to individual doctors and pharmacies to do so? This is the same CDC which sent biological toxins to Iraq, which wasn’t revealed until 1994 and expounded on in 2002. They’ve also done multiple articles on the zombie apocalypse, and studied gun violence. A researcher was caught faking AIDS experiments. Is this really how the government should be spending our money? It just seems rather wasteful.

It just seems stupidity brings about more stupidity. I realize pundits want to sit there and say, “Oh they’re really helping!” but the reality is the CDC really isn’t helping anything, except government power. HHS shouldn’t have issued their “suggestions,” or whatever it is they did, but it just highlights the idiocy of bureaucracy and government agencies which shouldn’t exist to begin with.

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