How Much Are We Allowed to Know?


The purpose of the media – putting it briefly – is to inform, enlighten and entertain. To do this, the private media has to generate income, and the public media needs donations and meat. To survive, the media needs to sell advertising which will not happen unless they attract consumers, and to attract the buying public, media will do their very best.

We, the television viewers, radio listeners and press readers have to be versed in everyday events taking place in our life, and the media ensures that we are fed the news in good time.

News is a commodity that is sold to us. Politicians, aware that the public buys news, bend over backwards to let the news reach us in the shape and content that best shows their cause in the most favorable and convenient way for them. In this situation, media and politicians are ‘business’ partners, so to speak. And the public is the target of their mutual product.

The news conveyer moves fast round the clock, seven days a week, permanently connected to our hearts and minds. The process is formally called ‘shaping of public opinion’ – using a euphemism – but in a straighter tongue, this is brainwashing. The process is intricate, expensive and cunning, which in most cases has the effect of being pursued by the doers.

The public will never know what is happening in reality. The information on the surface – television screens, radio waves and newspaper pages, meant for public ears and eyes, is only a part of the matter we the people are allowed to know. If we knew more than we are permitted to know, trouble would follow, as fulsome knowledge of the forbidden has the proclivity of taking the people out to the streets. On the other hand, why should we know more than we are allowed to know? Who needs the headache? Let us give preference to ignorance for the sake of keeping society on the verge between peace and mutiny.

On top of that, we don’t have enough time, energy, nerves, experience, knowledge or power to delve into the truth so deeply that the truth in its entire depth and purity tends to come to the surface where we start seeing and perceiving all that is brewing in the echelons beyond our reach. Sometimes, guesswork makes sense while imbibing the news, if we insist on knowing more than is allowed. This might be an attempt to decipher subtexts and concealed meanings of the words and thoughts we hear.

Politicians, the media and public have their own functions in the conglomerate of events that are reflected in the news. Those functions drastically differ from one other: politicians have an agenda that is conducive to acquiring or maintaining the ruling power; the media wants to seem a faithful servant of truth, endearing itself to both public and politicians for survival; and the public needs to be in the swim of the matters around, to be cultured, informed and to have fun, not disregarded by the other players.

The whole game seems naïve and harmless, but complicated enough for occasional analysis. Why analysis? Only because we the people know that politicians and the media are using us to stay in business, and most importantly, to be conscious of reality without any expectations that candor and truth would ever matter when politicians and the media are talking to us.

Oh yes, the impression of candor and truth, created by politicians and the media, will always be there to better catch our attention, but only because this kind of impression means more success for politicians in achieving the final goal and more power for the media to stay functional.

Conclusively, we the people should probably make wise and optimized choices in the process of using media, and via media, using the proliferated political thoughts and ideas to our greater benefit as long as possible. It is so good to be able to know that somebody is trying to lie to us and delude us. We can’t do much about it, of course, but we will at least know that we are smart enough to discern between right and wrong. We should hate to be in a cynical position that is clearly detrimental, and thus embarrassing to us.

Nugzar B. Ruhadze 

30 June 2016 21:41