Orszag is the eighteenth individual (that we know of) to transition between the White House and the mainstream press. He will surely not be the last. That amazingly high number again underscores the ideological similarities between members of the Obama administration and members of the press.
The New York Times Co. broke the news in a press release today:
"We welcome Peter Orszag's expertise and insight to our Op-Ed lineup," said Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times. "As a Washington insider and one of the most recognizable names in economics, his writing will provide a unique perspective on the national landscape."
Mr. Orszag is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. As President Barack Obama's first budget director, he worked on the 2009 stimulus package and helped craft the health care legislation passed in 2010. He was an outspoken proponent of the idea that reducing health care costs would be key to maintaining the federal budget and preparing for the country's economic future.
Presumably, the Times feels that Orszag can be a fair judge of economics - a field in which he is certainly proficient. Orszag's partisan affiliations don't seem to bother the Gray Lady.
That was a benefit of the doubt the paper would not afford to some Republican pols-turned-pundits. Take Karl Rove, for instance. After he took a gig with Fox News, the Times stated in a headline, "Rove as a pundit raises suspicions".
"Rove's new role as a media star marks another step in the evolution of mainstream journalism," wrote Times reporters Jim Rutenberg and Jacques Steinberg, "where opinion, 'straight news' reporting and unmistakable spin increasingly mingle, especially on television."
The Times has either adapted to this new reality, or was really only terribly concerned when Republicans spun the revolving door. We'll leave that for you to decide.