Administrative Truth: Comments on Cortez’s Information Mischief

9 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2019 Last revised: 18 Sep 2019

See all articles by David Thaw

David Thaw

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law; University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences; Yale University - Information Society Project; University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public & International Affairs

Date Written: May 9, 2019

Abstract

This short essay responds to Professor Nathan Cortez’s argument describing an emerging “information policy” reflecting on the practices of President Donald J. Trump’s executive administration (the “Trump Administration”) regarding the development, release, and management of official information. Professor Cortez argues that viewed holistically, this information policy suggests a shift toward the use of information practices by administrative agencies for purposes other than “neutral principles” and rather focusing on a “more cynical [use] of government information.”

This argument may be well-founded, and the Trump Administration certainly has been criticized widely for the relationship between its public statements and widespread media interpretation of the facts underlying those statements. A critical element implied in Cortez’s argument, however, is the idea that there is some ability to identify “neutral” information as a doctrinal matter. Drawing upon the work of Professors James Grimmelmann, Frank Pasquale, and others in the context of questioning the “neutrality” of Internet search engines, this essay argues that while Cortez’s argument likely is correct, any doctrinal response must carefully consider the slippery slope of attempting to define “neutrality” as a first step towards defining “truth.”

Keywords: Administrative Law, Public Administration, Information Neutrality, Information Policy, President Trump

Suggested Citation

Thaw, David, Administrative Truth: Comments on Cortez’s Information Mischief (May 9, 2019). Chicago-Kent Law Review, Forthcoming; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3389560

David Thaw (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.davidthaw.com

University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public & International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

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