More CNN Fake News

If you read the article on CNN about the word ban, you'll likely think that the Trump administration has done it again. They're banning science at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)!! Here's an excerpt:

"To pretend and insist that transgender people do not exist, and to allow this lie to infect public health research and prevention is irrational and very dangerous," Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a written statement.

"The Trump administration is full of dangerous science deniers who have no business near American public health systems like the CDC," she continued. "They are actually going to kill Americans if they do not stop."

"You cannot fight against the Zika virus, or improve women's and fetal health, if you are unable to use the word 'fetus.' You must be able to talk about science and evidence if you are to research cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola," Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America said. "You must be able to acknowledge the humanity of transgender people in order to address their health care needs. You cannot erase health inequities faced by people of color simply by forbidding the use of the words 'vulnerable' or 'diversity'."

Source: Word ban at CDC includes 'vulnerable,' 'fetus,' 'transgender'

Damn, that sounds bad, doesn't it? Researchers can't use words like diversity or fetus or transgender or evidence-based. The fascist pig Trump has struck again!

But.

But the directive has nothing to do with research. It only applies to 2018 budget documents. And it gives alternative wording that can be used in place of the proscribed words.

So CNN once again generates fake news by publishing an article full of quotes from outraged citizens who apparently can't read well enough to distinguish between 'budget document' and 'research'. Or was the confusion created by reporter Jessica Ravitz? Who knows? Maybe Russia did it. Yeah, that's the ticket!

UPDATE: I just noticed the CNN article is based on "original" reporting from The Washington Post. No surprise there, but CNN dressed the story up with breathless quotes from Keisling and Singiser.

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Comments

thanatokephaloides's picture

Absolutely no one whose brain still functions can hope to make sense out of The Chump's policy pronunziamentos!

So CNN isn't to blame when they can't make sense out of Chump's utter nonsense!

Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@thanatokephaloides

It's a given that Trump's pronouncements are puzzling, capricious and nonsensical. But the Washington Post covered the same story in a far less sensational way and without using wild quotes about how banning those words from budget documents will kill people. You can't build credibility through exaggeration and misrepresentation.

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Centaurea's picture

What is the reasoning behind the removal of these specific words from CDC budget documents? What is the effect likely to be on CDC operations?

Is this just a meaningless gesture to placate certain elements of the right wing base? Or are there practical implications of the language used in budget docs, such that it could negatively impact the CDC's research and prevention efforts?

Without addressing these questions, we can't accurately characterize this as "fake news".

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

edg's picture

@Centaurea

We don' need no steenkin' reasoning!

The effect on CDC operations is likely zero. Federal agencies are highly resistant to change once you get below the political levels.

Probably a meaningless gesture, and probably more to satisfy the wackos in Congress than the right wing base. The base doesn't read budget docs.

The language used won't impact CDC operations. They're smart enough to use different words. It's the budget cuts accompanying the language that will hurt.

The Washington Post's story (behind a paywall, unfortunately) is more informative and nuanced than CNN's but even it doesn't address your very valid questions.

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@edg
that language matters. An entity relying on government funding provides information of its needs through its budget request. As Congress decides where to cut the absence of those words will change the ability of CDC to make its case. The directive is likely to affect how the CDC stands up to other agencies as the cuts go through and the areas in the CDC that are likely to receive the largest cuts.

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edg's picture

@FuturePassed

But really, is a Republican in Congress more or less likely to fund a particular program with a banned word in it? There is an argument to be made that having red-flag words in there does more harm than good.

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@Centaurea This might have a positive effect, actually, given that the funding decisions are being made by right-wing ideologues looking for programs to cut. Given that they are not known for careful reading of the legislation before them, necessary public health research might stand a better chance of getting funding if the crazies' trigger words are avoided in favor of a circumlocution. Has anyone seen the list of suggested alternatives, or details about who originated it? That might give a clue about the reasoning behind the rule.

Then again, it might just be another piece of nonsensical craziness. God knows there's plenty of that around...

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edg's picture

@The Breach Awaits @The Breach Awaits

Waving red-flag words in front of right-wing wackos in Congress may hurt funding for the related program.

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I dunno, but 'normalizing' the banning of such words from government (agency or other) documents doesn't strike me as a move in the right direction...

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

edg's picture

@Ellen North

Both teams make the same play. Democrats ban certain words when they're in charge, Republicans ban other words when they're in charge. It's not right when either party does it.

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