Lyndsey is a twenty-something from Alabama who has worked on a handful of Republican political campaigns. Maureen Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times. The odds of these two women ever crossing paths were probably astronomical and so, when they did in fact cross paths Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the results were unpredictable.
Lyndsey was helping run the CPAC Bloggers Lounge, sponsored this year by FreedomWorks and RedState.com. When the conference shifted its venue in 2010 from the Omni Shoreham Hotel to the Wardman Park Marriott, bloggers managed to snag a prime location in the new facility. Whereas they had previously been stuck in an exhibition hall away from the main events, in the new setup, bloggers were now in a spacious room of their own connected to a balcony with an excellent view of the Marriot ballroom stage. A visit to the Bloggers Lounge almost instantly became a de rigeur ritual for VIPs at CPAC, and this year’s visitors ranged from Newt Gingrich to comedienne Victoria Jackson.
Being able to set up your laptop in the Bloggers Lounge is therefore a sought-after privilege, and organizers made it clear before CPAC that advanced registration would be required. So when the New York Times columnist nicknamed “MoDo” showed up Thursday, the unregistered arrival was denied access to the lounge by Lyndsey. According to one reported account, the Pulitzer-winner asked the young Alabamian, “Do you have any idea who I am?” Via Twitter, Lyndsey denied that version of the story and indeed she did know who Dowd was, but she also knew her name wasn’t on the registration list and so it was a no-go for MoDo.
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One might find a world of significance in that unlikely encounter. While Maureen Dowd was welcome to join the rest of the working press in the CPAC media center, it seems she preferred the more cutting-edge online cachet to be had amongst the bloggers. Somehow, Howard Kurtz of the I managed to make it inside with the help of a Red State contributor who shall remain anonymous, but Dowd’s press-corps prestige availed her naught against Lyndsey’s steel-magnolia resolve. And Lyndsey’s path to Pulitzer-resistant power exemplifies the astonishing ways in which the Internet has helped re-arrange the media universe. Lyndsey’s connection to D.C.-based FreedomWorks involved, among other things, her friendship with a young Republican consultant named Ali Akbar (who is, believe it or not, a Southern Baptist from Texas). By spring 2010, this connection resulted in Lyndsey being tasked with organizing a blogger reception for Georgia GOP congressional candidate Ray McKinney during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. Internet impresario Andrew Breitbart was among the attendees at that event, as was Tabitha Hale, new media director for FreedomWorks.
Read More: By Robert Stacy McCain, American Spectator