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Seven Forbidden Words: On the Uses of Censorship

Davidson, Lawrence
http://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/02/seven-forbidden-words-on-the-uses-of-censorship/

Publisher:  CounterPunch
Date Written:  02/01/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article

In December 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) moved to take ideological control of the agency's budget-writing process. A Trump appointed official presented a directive to the agency's departments listing seven words that were not to be used in budget preparation.

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

Sometime in the month of December 2017, somewhere in the bowels of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., a high-level appointee of the Trump administration moved to take ideological control of the agency’s budget-writing process. This official presented a directive to the agency’s departments, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), listing seven words that were not to be used in budget preparation. If they were, they would be flagged and the document sent back for “correction.” The seven “forbidden” words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

The higher-ups at the HHS have insisted that there is no “ban” in place. Departments like the CDC can still do research in areas to which these unwelcome key words relate. But this disclaimer is misleading. To do the research you need money, and the money comes from the budget. The “discouragement” of key words is meant to marginalize their related research agendas. If fully effective, this attempt at censorship – for that is what it is – could contribute to undermining several generations of cultural progress, and challenge the “science-based” methodology that serves as a foundation for the modern world.

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