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Orszag to the New York Times

Thumbnail image for orszagleaving.JPGSo Peter Orszag will begin contributing occasional columns and blog posts to the New York Times. That seems like a good hire. For a long time, the administration staffers who got boosted to op-ed pages came from the speechwriting team: Think William Safire or Michael Gerson or Mark Thiessen. You could also add James Fallows and Rick Hertzberg and Chris Matthews to that list, though none of them are specifically newspaper columnists.

To some degree, this made sense: Experience writing speeches seems more applicable to writing columns than most other skills on offer in your average White House. For one thing, it involves writing words other people might want to read. Directing the Office of Management and Budget usually doesn't.

But the fact that speechwriters made the most natural columnists doesn't mean they're the ones with the most interesting insights: The policy people, the people building the bills and running the negotiations and navigating the legislature -- that's more interesting stuff, actually. But how did you know if they could write? Well, with Orszag, it was his blogging. Same goes for Keith Hennessey, who ran George W. Bush's National Economics Council and now writes a very good blog. Academics like Tyler Cowen and Brad DeLong also belong on this list. Paul Krugman, as it happens, got his big break at Slate, which isn't that far off. Now that there are forums for people who aren't professional writers to do public writing, we're finding that some of those people are perfectly good writers, and then we get the benefits of their writing and their life spent doing something other than writing. It's an encouraging trend.

Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 3, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

Ezra,

Please get that 'tongue guy' off your website.

I can't believe that as the smartest 20-something person in the national press, you need that horrible image right next to your headlines.

Gad. Please.

Posted by: muddypaws | September 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So Orszag is transitioning from one arm of the administration to another. Shouldn't be difficult.

Posted by: Bob65 | September 3, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The main stream media is already infested with reporters and bloggers so biased that they cannot be called journalists. Real journalism is a thing of the past. What business does a bozo like Orszag have in the news business?

Where do we get the real news of the day? Beats the hell out of me. It ain't the Times and it ain't the WaPo for sure.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | September 3, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Krugman liked that Bates medal and Nobel prize and all that but, goodness!, imagine his emotions when Slate came calling. "It's my big break!" he must have shouted to his wife.

Posted by: robbins2 | September 3, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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