On March 16, President Obama updated the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order, per the powers vested in the presidency by the Defense Production Act of 1950.
Fox Nation subsequently fearmongered over the executive order, linking to a New American post on March 19 that claimed Obama could use it to "ascend to a level of supervision witnessed in all the former republics of history just before their devolution into mobocracy and mayhem":
Perhaps the President is taking the first few steps necessary to cloak himself in the powers required to "legally" (albeit unconstitutionally) step outside the boundaries of his constitutional authority and ascend to a level of supervision witnessed in all the former republics of history just before their devolution into mobocracy and mayhem.
Parroting the New American post, Fox Nation's headline declared, "Obama's Executive Order Authorizes Peacetime Martial Law":
Responding to a question about the executive order during a March 19 press briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney explained that it was a "fairly standard and routine piece of business." But you don't need to take Carney's word for it. Even some right-wing media outlets were quick to throw cold water on this latest Obama conspiracy theory.
In a March 18 Hot Air post, conservative blogger Ed Morrissey wrote that "this is really nothing to worry about at all," explaining that the new order is an update to a previously existing executive order:
[T]his is almost identical to EO 12919 from 18 years earlier...Why the update? If one takes a look at EO 12919, the big change is in the Cabinet itself. In 1994, we didn't have a Department of Homeland Security, for instance, and some of these functions would naturally fall to DHS. In EO 12919, the FEMA director had those responsibilities, and the biggest change between the two is the removal of several references to FEMA (ten in all). Otherwise, there aren't a lot of changes between the two EOs, which looks mainly like boilerplate.
In fact, that's almost entirely what it is. The original EO dealing with national defense resources preparedness was issued in 1939 (EO 8248) according to the National Archives. It has been superseded a number of times, starting in 1951 by nearly every President through Bill Clinton, and amended twice by George W. Bush.
Barack Obama may be arrogant, and the timing of this release might have looked a little strange, but this is really nothing to worry about at all. [emphasis added]
And in a March 18 post titled, "Obama executive order nothing to storm the castle over," Daily Caller executive editor David Martosko wrote that "[i]t's time to crumple up those tinfoil hats":
On Friday President Obama signed an executive order titled "National Defense Resources Preparedness," and by Saturday the conservative Twitterverse had erupted into righteous indignation, organized under the hashtag #ExecOrder. But the 140-character expressions of outrage and the anti-Obama tea party angst masked the fact that very little in the presidential proclamation is new.
Most of it combines existing executive orders from Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Those earlier orders refined similar statements from Presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon.
So everyone just chill, okay? It's time to crumple up those tinfoil hats. At least for a week or so.