Re: the media... yup - sad, but mostly true.
I find that I usually have to look up at least two different sources, plus at least one non-US source (my faves: RT, BBC, Deutsche Welle) and at least one alt-media source (*not* an ideologically-driven one) to get a semi-coherent picture of the truth behind a given story I find interesting.
There is one bit, though: I don't think the US media is doing it for a given propaganda track per se (though it is rapidly approaching that), but instead I think it's an organic result of the $media_corporation drive for eyeballs, thus advertising dollars. This is why a typical cable show's primetime slots are packed with crap that feeds off of the drama and controversy, instead of trying to get at the actual facts and heart of a given story. It's why you have the likes of, say, Nancy Grace on CNN making her paycheck off the corpses of dead kids, MSNBC sneering at anyone who dares to besmirch their idol in the White House, and FOX shouting full-throttle that that same White House occupant is a combination of Stalin and the Antichrist (albeit wearing a better suit). Each channel is shaping their chosen demographic, and stoking them up so they can jack up the rates for advertisers.
But then, I suspect it's part of the grand civilizational cycle - rise, peak, fall. We (the world, mind, since we're a lot more global than most folks realize) are somewhere near the peak IMHO, though I'll be damned if I can say for certain which side of that peak we're on.