Is it legal for the US government to ban words?

Snopes on the topic of this thread.

I don’t know anything about that, but the Obama Administration did object to the use of the term “global war on terrorism” that was omnipresent during the Bush Administration.

Now that the Snopes link has been provided you should know that it is false now, correct?

Did they forbid agencies from using the term, or was it a personal preference?

I think that’s what Mangosteen was getting at by caging “banned” in quotes and using the phrase “in the same manner.” What he says is pretty much correct. The words aren’t “banned” or “illegal” in any meaningful sense. They’ve just been redacted from the style guide, basically, for certain types of official communication from the government. Now, of course, redacting words like “negro” and “oriental” makes sense, given those are painfully outdated words.

Nothing I wrote should have been interpreted as any kind of endorsement, but simply as distancing myself from the allegations. I quoted only to relay that the Obama Administration did make a policy to stop usage of a certain term.

Agencies were directed to use the term “Overseas Contingency Operations” instead.

ETA: And to be clear, I think it’s silly to ban terms like “science-based” when it isn’t really a controversial term at all. But there is ample precedent for Administrations to direct the use of some terms and not others.

That makes sense, and I had not noticed that before you pointed it out. Good call!!