Banned Words for the CDC?

The Washington Post may have "mischaracterized" a report that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was "banned" from using certain words in its budget documents. Reports claimed that the Trump Administration would prevent the CDC from using these seven words: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based.

But in a Facebook post, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald denied such restrictions. She is upholding the integrity of the organization.


What really transpired between the CDC and the Trump Administration? The Human Rights Commission, an LGBTQ organization, wants to know. In addition to projecting the seven words boldly across a Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., in protest, the organization has asked for more information:

"In conjunction with the enormous light display, HRC has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for any and all records, including communications with the CDC, relating to the banned words from November 2016 onward."


  • How is this an issue of integrity for the CDC? What do you think actually transpired between the CDC and the Trump Administration?
  • Where do you think the Washington Post went wrong—or did it?
  • Assess the CDC director's response. How well did she handle the issue and rebuild the agency's image?