Reporter Causes Sensation By Tweeting Insider Photos Of Obama’s Visit To Saudi Arabia

Image via Twitter/cbudoffbrown

In Saudi Arabia, photos of the royal family aren’t just worth a thousand words; they’re also worth at least 10,000 followers on Twitter.

Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown snapped the pics of the Saudi royal family during President Obama’s recent visit through the Middle Eastern country. Glimpses in the Saudi rulers’ private lives are so rare Budoff gained nearly 13,000 Twitter  followers overnight after snapping and posting her pictures on the microblogging social netork.

Budoff tells the story of her surprise in a March 30 piece for Politico. Describing her pics as “mediocre” fare snapped on a smartphone, the senior White House correspondent for the publication unwittingly caused a sensation when she revealed the Saudi king’s oxygen feed when meeting with Pres. Obama as well as the splendor of the desert palace and pomp of the attendant Saudi guard.

The photos might be standard issue in most countries where President Obama travels in the course of state business, but Saudi Arabia’s tight reins on Internet use made the photos spread like wildfire throughout the country. Politico’s Budoff said she was surprised to see an additional 2,000 followers within an hour of landing in Saudi Arabia, after which an outpouring of thanks came streaming in from Saudi citizens. Her tweet following the boon summed it up.

Saudi citizens repsonded in kind.

Meanwhile, Budoff had her share of critics that complained about the invasiveness of the photos.

Budoff noted the “powerful, disruptive force” that is Twitter, especially with respect to a regime that exercises extensive control of reporting on the royal family. One Twitter user suggested she get pictures from inside the White House as a symbol of equal treatment.

“I would be happy to,” Budoff replied.