People want to be smart by default. You can see it in the way a child becomes frustrated if another child understands faster whatever information.
The manipulated gets information and arguments and chains of inference and deduction with no effort. They do not verify information because they have the same. human problem with giving back what it was given in the first place to them for free.
Manipulation is simple information economics. You can’t beat free. The truth is luxury. The second best is common sense. The mass market is manipulation.
The only way to control anticompetitive practices is to make them against the law. Manipulation is unfair information competition. Good information has high cognitive cost. Poor information is dumped on the market with no price tag attached.
In this sense any media that transmits information free of cognitive load should be highly scrutinized and if the information is found to be wrong fined up to license withdrawal.
I think information economy should be taken out of the scope of morals. Currently we think of truth in all the wrong ways. Truth as character, or moral choice,truth as obligation, we even expect the truth.
In our reality though, truth is nothing but a bare merchandise. It is handled as merchandise and priced accordingly. It is also in high demand, therefore very expensive. It requires craftsmanship to obtain, therefore it is a luxury merchandise.
Common sense is innate in most people, therefore highly available. It does have a cost and the cost is highly dependent on distribution of biological traits and social circumstances across the populace. Sometimes common sense is very expensive. Just like water, for example, is abundant in places where it is wasted and free, and in places is a pricy thing to obtain.
Everything else is manipulation. Manipulation is all non neutral information. Non neutral information contains a desired direction of conclusions manipulation is free and widely available because it is cheap to make, and, most important, cheap to understand.
The cognitive cost of accepting manipulation is extremely low. The effect of having a rich and complex,albeit distorted and argument filled, network of information is very desirable.
I think that a manipulated human, one who has taken on the full depth of misinformation on some subject, has the same level of intellectual reward feedback as a recognized world leading expert.
It is important to remember that we don’t need a ministry of truth. It would be the same as having a ministry of kitsch.