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CDC Is To The Left Of The Media – OpEd

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As recently as a few years ago, no one would believe that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was to the left of the mainstream media. But a lot has recently changed.

From draconian strictures on Covid to the latest pronouncements on climate change, it is clear that the CDC has become a very political institution. Perhaps nothing shows how much it has changed more than its comments on the necessity of pregnant women to become vaccinated.

Whether pregnant women should be vaccinated is not, per se, an ideological issue. What makes it so is the linguistic politics employed by the CDC: It refers to pregnant women as “pregnant people.” This is done, of course, not to offend the sexually challenged, namely women who consider themselves to be a man and are, or may become, pregnant.

Of course, in the real world, everyone who has not yet lost his mind—the pool is shrinking at an alarming rate—knows that it is a fiction to believe that men can become pregnant. Unfortunately, the CDC is one of the foremost promoters of this fiction: it used the term “pregnant people” 29 out of 30 times in its statement recommending that pregnant women be vaccinated.

The media did not uniformly follow the CDC’s lead. Here is how prominent media outlets addressed this issue. (The numbers refer to how many times various terms were employed in their initial story on this subject.)

CDC:

  • “Covid-19 Vaccines while Pregnant or Breast Feeding”
  • Pregnant Women: 1
  • Pregnant “People”: 29

Associated Press:

  • “CDC urges COVID vaccines during pregnancy as delta surges”
  • Pregnant Women: 7
  • Pregnant “People”: 0
  • Pregnant Patients: 5

[Appeared in LA Times, Sun Sentinel, New Orleans Times-Picayune, and NBC News Website]
Reuters:

  • “CDC Recommends Pregnant Women get Covid-19 Vaccine”
  • Pregnant Women: 1
  • Pregnant “People”: 2

Washington Post:

  • “CDC guidance now official: Pregnant people should get coronavirus vaccine”
  • Pregnant Women: 10
  • Pregnant “People”: 3

New York Times:

  • “The C.D.C. endorses Covid vaccinations during pregnancy”
  • Pregnant Women: 5
  • Pregnant “People”: 2

Boston Globe:

  • “FDA set to OK booster shots for limited group”
  • Pregnant Women: 5
  • Pregnant “People”: 1

San Francisco Chronicle:

  • “CDC endorses COVID vaccine during pregnancy”
  • Pregnant Women: 4
  • Pregnant “People”: 0

NPR Website:

  • “Vaccinating During Pregnancy Has Become Even More Urgent As ICU Beds Fill Up”
  • Pregnant Women: 1
  • Pregnant “People”: 4
  • Pregnant “Individuals”: 1
  • Those who are pregnant/someone who is pregnant: 7

CBS:

  • CBS News Website:
  • “CDC now recommends pregnant people get vaccinated”
  • Pregnant Women: 1
  • Pregnant “People”: 4
  • Pregnant or Lactating Individuals: 1

ABC:

  • ABC News Website:
  • “CDC strengthens recommendation that pregnant women get” vaccinated
  • Pregnant Women: 8
  • Pregnant “People”: 1

CNN:

  • CNN Wire:
  • “CDC strengthens recommendation for pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid-19”
  • Pregnant Women: 6
  • Pregnant “People”: 1
  • Those who are pregnant/anyone who is pregnant: 3

Fox News:

  • Fox News Website:
  • “CDC advices COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women”
  • Pregnant Women: 5
  • Pregnant “People”: 0

The inconsistent usage that is evident in most of these listings suggests that the media are themselves in transition. A lag effect is evident: they have not caught up to the linguistic politics of the CDC.

But give them some time—by the end of the year they will retire the term pregnant women from their lexicon, referring only to “pregnant people.” Look for these geniuses to call women who menstruate “people who menstruate,” and men with prostate issues “people with prostate issues.”

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William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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