Response to Dale Brown letter

Mark Berg

Minot

In his recent letter to the editor, well-known coach and motivational speaker Dale Brown discusses the deplorable state of present-day journalism and quotes from one of Soren Kierkegaard’s works to provide a model for journalists to follow, as they pursue their professions.

The Kierkegaard quote might be expanded a little, for effect, by adding the three sentences that follow — “one can be deceived by appearances, but one can also be deceived by the superficiality of shrewdness, by the flattering conceit which is absolutely certain that it cannot be deceived. Which deception is most dangerous? Whose recovery is more doubtful, that of him who does not see, or of him who sees and still does not see?”

The quotation comes from the first paragraph, of the first chapter, of the first part, of Kierkegaard’s book ‘Works of Love’.

Kierkegaard himself read newspapers published in Copenhagen, where he lived, and often took journalists to task for shoddy reporting. On one occasion, he called out the ‘Copenhagen Post’, writing, “But if we wish to speak as human beings and not completely cut out all intellectual communication, then it surely should be in confesso (generally admitted) that when one says of the ‘Copenhagen Post’ that it is acrimonious and makes mistakes, one means that it is more acrimonious and makes more mistakes than one could wish.” (See his article, “The morning observations in the ‘Copenhagen Post’, no. 43”, paragraph two.)

Perhaps we could conclude by pointing out that journalists have always “made more mistakes than one could wish”.

It is up to us to let them know about it.

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