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Don't Say It

There are certain words that US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have been told not to use, according to the Washington Post. It reported Friday that policy analysts at the agency were instructed to avoid using the terms "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based."

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald tweeted, however, that there are "no banned words" at the agency.

The Post's report set off an "uproar," as the New York Times says. According to Stat News, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health that if the report was true, the directive was "an Orwellian attack on scientific integrity."

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, Matt Lloyd, tells the Times that "[t]he assertion that HHS has 'banned words' is a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process." An official also tells Stat News that the instruction was more to do with how to phrase budget items so as to win support in Congress.

Still, a former federal official tells the Times the move is "absurd and Orwellian."

"[B]ut they are not saying to not use the words in reports or articles or scientific publications or anything else the CDC does," former official adds at the Times. "They're saying not to use it in your request for money because it will hurt you. It's not about censoring what CDC can say to the American public. It's about a budget strategy to get funded."