Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 2 months ago

Why do fictional stories always make up equivalents for the CDC?

Games, Books, Movies and TV series seem to rarely use the CDC even if the story is meant to take place in our universe (Such as a cop or doctor show). In the TV show The Mentalist, it is the CDCA. In the video game Left 4 Dead, it's the CEDA (With the acronym usually pronounced as one word). Despite these changes, other governmental organizations stay the same in these series. Why is this? Is there a reason writers, screenwriters, and game developers specifically avoid using the namesake of the CDC, when they don't bother with IRS, FBI, NSA, NASA, and the various military, library, parks and recreation branches? Why just rename the CDC? Is there some law forbidding it?

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  • Speed
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    It's legal liability.

    If the not-the-CDC makes a mistake, which is a common plot device (OMG, they're not listening to the one outlier scientist who's got it right!), it makes the organization look bad. It's important that not happen, both because they could sue for slander and because it's vital that they maintain public trust.

    People need to be able to believe the CDC when they give advice regarding public health. Really, they do. Clearly lots of people have no skills that let them identify silly health-related conspiracies, so there needs to be an organization they can trust.

    If you read widely enough, I think you'll see that when the CDC nails it in a fictional work, they're often correctly named. (There the common plot device is the government silencing the CDC in the interest of some huge corporation or someone's reelection.) But if they bungle things, a fake name is used.

    It's the same way other government agencies and real businesses in fictional settings.

  • 2 months ago

    Books are something of a grey area here, but in any medium where an organisation's logo appears on screen, or an actor portrays a character who works for the organisation, or any statements are attributed to the organisation, the creators usually try to get cooperation from the organisation, or at least get permission to use the logo. If they don't get permission or cooperation, they risk being sued for trademark infringement or defamation.

    My guess is that the CDC either doesn't cooperate with creators of fiction, or they don't cooperate on fiction where they think the plot is implausible or relies on major inaccuracies. Or, like most other organisations, they don't cooperate on anything that portrays them in a bad light.

    Source(s): https://www.cdc.gov/media/subtopic/questions.htm (scroll down about halfway for the question about their trademarks)
  • Zac Z
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Interesting question.

    Maybe not many people (perhaps including the authors) were familiar with the CDC until recently, whereas pretty much everybody knows about the IRS, FBI, or NASA.

  • 2 months ago

    Hmmm, that is interesting. I have read some stories where the CDC is used.  I've also read stories that have nothing to do with disease prevention or control.

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