Story Subject Demands Deletion

For the first time in years, someone featured in a This is True story has complained about it.

It took Samuel Saraiva nine years(!) to learn about the story where he’s featured and call me on the phone with the complaint.

First, he demanded I remove the story from the archive. I told him no; he threatened to sue. As per my policy, I offered to publish any reply he’d like to make without me editing it in any way. He again demanded I remove the story from my site. I told him no again, so he cursed me and slammed the phone down.

A few hours later he emailed an “error report” which demanded that I “remove this form the internet immediatelty. If not I go to the Court againte you and your publication.” (All spellings verbatim, here and below.)

I again refused, and again offered to run a letter from him with the story.

He finally agreed to that, but said he needed time — “I need preparer my comments about, reviser and send to you for publication” first.

Sure, OK. That was more than two weeks ago; I nearly forgot about him, but his letter arrived today, by email. As promised I published it — unedited — with the story in my archive. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to reply to his letter, and that’s posted with the story too.

Mostly, I think he’s just mad that his own site doesn’t come up first in a Google search for his name. Mine does. And yes, I’m very confident that it’s the same guy.

Should I Allow Censorship?

Let me be clear about my position: I write commentary on stories that appear in the news. If I make a mistake when I summarize that story, I’m happy to correct it. But complaints about accurate summaries, or whining about obvious jokes, will fall on deaf ears.

Yet if anyone I talk about in the story by name complains, I’ll still publish their letter with the story if I’m satisfied with their identity. If they want their own site to show up in online searches of their name before mine, then they should practice proper search engine optimization. Don’t like bad publicity? Then don’t do stupid things that get you into the news.

But my answer about being censored: not just no, but hell no!

February 2014 Update

I checked, and apparently Mr. Saraiva took my advice: there are now many pages featuring his name, and this one is now way down on the second page of Google’s results when searching for his name, rather than the very first result. Nice SEO job, Sam!

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9 thoughts on “Story Subject Demands Deletion

  1. After reading [the] complaint, I followed his suggestion and read his biography. As you already noted, his mother was a dentist, but the clincher is that, among other endeavors, he calls himself a politician, so the phrase ‘some sort of idiot’ seems to fit.

  2. When reading [the letter with the story in the archive], one thing came to mind: “‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” –Abraham Lincoln (I think). I am embarrassed to be from the same state as this guy.

    The quote has been variously attributed, including to Lincoln and to Mark Twain. -rc

  3. That it took him nine years to complain, that he apparently has no common sense, that he thinks [according to his web site] Marion Barry (gotta love that name) “left us as a legacy an example of unselfishness and human solidarity”, and though he refers to himself as a permanent U.S. resident and writes in English, seems to have a poor command of the language, all definitely support your conclusion of idiocy.

    But then I read the upper left of his site and it all became clear. He firstly identifies himself as a POLITICIAN! A decade behind, no common sense, idolizes other politicians no matter how corrupt and can’t communicate… sounds like a politician to me.

    In his last paragraph he writes: “Then I asked myself: Do the things I have done or written make some sense, or are they valid other than to rescue me (as long as I can remember) from the condition of a mere passive element of History?”

    So I don’t understand his ire Randy, I think you did a great job of helping him in his desire to be more than a passive element; He should have been happy. Politicians, go figure.

  4. I hate to tell you this, but this guy now identifies himself as a journalist! (some sort of idiot?)

    Also, when I click on the google link above, which searches for “Samuel+Sales+Saraiva+biography”, it bring up the THIS IS TRUE archive as #1. So much for his SEO efforts! (Ok, so you’re #8 searching for just “Samuel+Sales+Saraiva” and #10 for “Samuel+Saraiva”…)

    Journalist takes even more effort than politician, too! (But not much more.) There’s even a photo on that page. Nice teeth! -rc

  5. As far as I know, “idiocy” has not been afforded the stature of a diagnosable pathology, and as such, the offended person’s implication that you are practicing without a license is absurd to the point of being hilarious. I’d counter that he should more appropriately be prosecuted for posting while idiotic.

  6. Randy, if you’d like, I will certify you as a qualified *EXPERT* arbiter of Idiocy. Even if only based on your experiences reporting on it. Of course, you may have to wait until my “Certifier’s certificate” comes back to me in the mail. I gave it to my Dentist, to mail, in my behalf.

  7. Please, don’t insult idiots by comparing them to Saraiva. You should apologize to the idiots of the world.

    To be fair, I did say some kind of idiot. I think it applies here. -rc

  8. You know what Randy? He just might be right. He being Saraiva, of course. Many long years ago when iodine and thyroids had not been discovered to have an affinity for each other, people suffered from hypo or low thyroid conditions. When they were severe enough to result in mental retardation they were given different names depending on how severe the condition. I believe it started with Congenital Idiocy (or Acquired Idiocy) and proceeded through Cretin. I do not remember all the intervening levels. And since you are hard at work on that Paramedic thing. . . that makes you a “licensed” expert!!! That should take care of that complaint.

    I know ’em when I see their …actions. -rc

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