It has always been the policy of Tico Times® Directory to be neutral, and only on rare occasions will we write something political and/or controversial, like what we did on the release of a pedophile, the poaching of Costa Rica sea turtle eggs, and real estate scams.
However, this morning we received (not one, but many) of the same cookie-cutter emails:
Dear Tico Times Directory,
I just signed Daniel Woodall's petition "Disassociate, cease financial support and endorsement of the Costa Rica Star.: We ask that you terminate professional and financial relationships, and cease all payments for advertising to the Costa Rica Star and its publisher Enrico Cacciatore." on Change.org.
We ask that you terminate professional and financial relationships, and cease all payments for advertising to the Costa Rica Star and its publisher Enrico Cacciatore.
Daniel Woodall San José, Costa Rica,
Editor Note: Mr. Woodall is a writer for US Expat Costa Rica – a Blog that provides information/news to US expats living in Costa Rica.
Right below was a link to change.com petition that asked (more like threatened) us to sign. Change.org is a website that tries to promote social change through online petitions and it is currently under fire for their sp@m-like emails.
At the bottom of the petition the following reads with the links to their websites:
Businesses and individuals that continue to associate with the Costa Rica Star, do so at the risk of damage to their professional integrity and the value of their brands.
Croc’s Casino Resort in Costa Rica and Owner/CEO Dag Hascall in Jacó, Costa Rica
Palm Real Estate Costa Rica in Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa, Playa Ocotal, Playa Panama, Matapalo and and Owner, Mari Brenes
Attorney Jose Alfredo Campos of Lex Counsel in San José, Costa Rica
Costa Rica Tico Times Directory and Manager Kip W. Ives
Corey Coates in This Week in Costa Rica hosted by on Overseas Radio
Then about an hour later, we started getting these sp@m-like emails from people who have signed the petition.
Okay, WTF is this!
First, lets backup on this and see why this Daniel Woodall of US Expats Costa Rica had the audacity to target Stars advertisers.
On Jan 12, 2014 one of the Star's contributors, Marcel Evans wrote an article, New Law in Costa Rica for Perpetual Tourist, the article had a lot of disturbing information about expats living in Costa Rica.
Immediately, Costa Rican expats started flipping out, thinking their residency in Costa Rica was being jeopardize.
Now here is what we found very interesting, other “knowledgeable” readers quickly pointed out that the article was in fact, a word-for-word/cut & paste copy of an article that appeared on another news website, AM Costa Rica, on February 19th, 2010, as new immigration laws were debated that year.
One sharp reader commented, “VERY old news. Mario Zamora has not been director of La Migra for several years. Many of the things mentioned in this article never came to pass. A few were only partially implemented. It's a suckers cut-and-paste.”
After a day, the Star added a editor’s note above the article:
UPDATE: The purpose of publishing this article is to prove how misinformation online can cause problems, it’s always best to consult with a lawyer in matters of immigration and residency. The content in this article below is not accurate, and should create conversation on the topic. The Costa Rica Star recently published an article about getting your permanent residency in Costa Rica to avoid the costs and delays associated with perpetual tourism.
So why are we, and other businesses being targeted [in this petition] to terminate our relationship with the Star? In otherwords, what do we have to do with Stars business practices? With said, we looked back on some other articles that got readers all fired up:
- On Jan 10, 2014, Elpeji wrote, Costa Rica Declares State of Emergency As Polar Vortex Sends Temperatures Below 75 Degrees Fahrenheit, and even "quoted" President Laura Chinchilla. We posted the satire on our Facebook, and even still, some thought it was real.
- On April 1, 2013, Inside Costa Rica wrote, President Obama trip to Costa Rica being canceled due to the concerns of the 1000s of potholes. Our email box got hammered with people asking if this was true. And if you read the article, Inside Costa Rica had to make an editor note, the article was done in fun when a reader thought they were taking an unfair or passive-aggressive “jab” at Costa Rica. Obviously the reader did not look on the date the article was published.
Was there any petition filed against Elpeji or Inside Costa Rica advertisers because it fooled some of their readers?
Regardless of what you read nowadays, it is the choice of the reader to believe it or not.
Any seasonal reader of the Internet knows, when any doubt comes in to mind, then it becomes the responsibility of the reader to research the article. Obvious, many read the Star article and knew it was BS. And whether or not, it was written for controversy, that’s the business decision of the Star.
In regards to ANY immigration laws in Costa Rica, any knowledgeable expat knows three rules, 1) Keep on top of the immigration laws from reliable sources, 2) Respect the laws of Costa Rica and 3) When in doubt, hired a attorney.
Our point is very adamant, Okay, maybe the Star made a bad business call on just one of the 100s of articles it has written and it’s not like others have done the same.
And okay, maybe they did it to promote and make money for others, including themselves. Like almost all media outlets, they have to make a few bucks to keep in business.
So, do we fault them for that?
Several years ago Tico Times Newspaper wrote an article about some children benefit function that was totally bogus and outcry was heard. They later apologized for it when they learned their writer never even went to interview the people of the benefit. We can’t count how many other articles that have been written that have stirred controversy or were just blatantly wrong or done with malicious intentions.
The Star's article was done as to what the Star said in their update, and there was no malicious intentions. The Star has a good reputation of writing quality articles and we support them 100%.
With said, just because we elect to business with the Star, who are you Mr. Woodall to tell us, who we can, and can not do business with?
How in the hell can you accuse us for unethical behavior, and demand us to terminate professional and financial relationships when ALL we did was a simple banner exchange?
In otherwords, Mr. Woodall, "People who live in glass houses … shouldn't throw stones."