OP, I agree that it's sad how the media completely runs the country in terms of public opinion. As for being ashamed to be an American--come now. Most other countries would love to have the control mechanism that is our media. Don't hate the player. Propaganda is always going to be around, and people are always going to play into it. The other option is to make decisions based solely on statistical analysis, which has its own host of problems i.e. we are robots.
I'm really interested in determining what we can do to minimize the effectiveness of the media machine. Here are my thoughts.
1) Avoid "news" - I refrain from watching any "news" on TV. But I do admit to reading Google News quite a bit, which is really not any different. Same imperialist viewpoints on any international happenings.
2) Seek more objective viewpoints or - CSMonitor is one of the media superpowers that sometimes has more objective information. Yes, Christian is in the name, and I think because of that they try harder to be objective. I also view http://www.realityzone.com
for somewhat objective information.
3) Seek viewpoints of the people that actually matter. - For example, interested in what's going on in Syria? Find a blog from a Syrian or reporter that lives in Syria. Visit foreign media sources.
4) Talk about it with friends. Friends' opinions are very influential in how we form opinions or change our own. We're also more apt to trust a friend than a great looking white man on TV with perfect hair. I know. Shocking.
5) Vote third party. haha. Had to get that in there.
WTH else can we do?