Looking for some good news, folks?
The Clinton administration promised this week to rewrite Executive
Order 13083, first exposed right here on one of the Internet’s fastest
growing news sites, WorldNetDaily.com, as a transparent attempt by
Washington to steal power from state and local governments.
“Everything is on the table,” said G. Edward DeSeve, acting deputy
director of the Office of Management and Budget, at a congressional
hearing on the executive order brought to light by this news service.
“We want to consult with them and get this done and go on to other
things.” He pledged that the administration would start with “a clean
slate” and negotiate a mutually acceptable order on the principles of
federalism to replace EO 13083.
Elected officials of both parties complained about the order for two
hours before a subcommittee of the House Government Reform and Oversight
Committee, chaired by Rep. David McIntosh, R-IN. They testified that the
Clinton order reversed policies that had guided federal regulators for
the past decade as they considered actions with potential impact on
state and local communities. Instead of demanding justification by
federal bureaucrats for intervention in the affairs of states and local
governments, EO 13083 offered nine subjective justifications for
Ironically, the officials pointed out, the order, which required
federal agencies to consult with state and local officials before taking
action affecting their jurisdictions, was signed by Clinton May 14
without any such consultation and with no fanfare.
Officials as diverse as Utah’s Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt and
Philadelphia’s Democratic Mayor Edward Rendell condemned the order.
Rendell called it “a serious step backward” from an earlier order issued
by President Reagan in 1987.
Complaints were also registered by the National League of Cities, the
National Association of County Officials and the National Conference of
State Legislatures. The groups were united in their demand that EO 13083
be withdrawn, which the White House refuses to do. Clinton has, however,
agreed to delay implementation until mid-November while soliciting
feedback from state and local officials.
“There is not a lot of negotiating room here,” said Philadelphia
Councilman Brian J. O’Neill, president of the League of Cities. “This is
a flawed document — totally wrong.” Most officials agreed to work out
new language with the White House as long as 13083 does not serve as the
basis for the discussion.
Mickey Ibarra, assistant to the president for intergovernmental
relations, said the demands would be met.
“We hope to begin talks as early as next week,” he said. “We will
listen to our partners and begin wherever they want to.”
Left unsaid at the congressional hearing was how all these public
officials even heard about Executive Order 13083. The White House issued
no press release when the order was signed quietly by the president in
Birmingham, England. There were no press conferences by administration
officials or spokesmen. There was no press coverage by the Washington
Post, New York Times or Associated Press when the sweeping order was
The answer to the question of how they found it says much about the
potential impact of the “new media.” WorldNetDaily carried the first
significant story about the order June 17. That story and subsequent
follow-ups were linked to and broadcast e-mailed all over the Internet.
Talk radio hosts from coast to coast, including Rush Limbaugh and
Michael Reagan, picked up the story and warned of the order’s
That’s how state and local officials found out about it. And that’s
how congressional representatives who introduced legislation to override
the order learned of its existence, too. It wasn’t until local officials
went to Washington to protest that the Washington Post took notice of
Executive Order 13083.
This is just the most recent triumph for the Internet as a news
medium. It was just about six weeks ago that WorldNetDaily first raised
major questions of accuracy with regard to CNN-Time’s “Tailwind” report
— questions that ultimately forced perhaps the most high-profile
retraction in the history of American journalism and the firing of some
of those responsible.
Do you want something to cheer about? Cheer about the new competition
in the news media resulting in a better informed and more responsive
public and a government that is, at least occasionally, still
accountable to the people.