The Washington Post reported on Friday that Alison Kelly, a senior official in the CDC's Office of Financial Services, revealed the existence of a list of forbidden words during a meeting with staff members responsible for preparing the CDC budget and related material. For instance, in lieu of "evidence-based" or "science-based", an analyst might say, "CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes", the source said.
However, those charged with penning official documents about the Zika virus' effect on developing fetuses are going to have a harder time coming up "acceptable" ways of saying, well, "fetus".
In a 90-minute briefing on Thursday, policy analysts at the nation's leading public health institute were presented with the menu of seven banned words, an analyst told the paper. Just like Kellyanne Conway created "alternative facts", the Trump administration reportedly had a list of "alternative phrases" to use. Of the removal of the phrases "evidence-based" and "science-based", he added: "Simply choosing to ignore reality, science, medicine, will not make these things go away and will not really advance anyone's cause or lead to improved health outcomes". Kaylie Hanson Long, the group's national communications director, compared it to something out of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, A Handmaid's Tale, which she said was being used Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were using the work of fiction instead as "a playbook" in order to push their far-right ideologies.
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"The Trump administration is full of risky science deniers who have no business near American public health systems like the CDC", she continued. "It means the Trump-Pence administration is trying to make a radical change in the focus of the entire agency".
Critics have called the move a politicization of scientific findings, in line with past moves by the administration to remove mentions of climate change and renewable energy initiatives from government websites.
This report has also stunned others in the medical field.