Keep in mind that everything you see on television and in the news is in some way controlled by about six corporations, and other wealthy interests. That includes all our politicians. The goal of corporations is to make money, more each year, without any regard for morality or its impact on the world, beyond what they can get away with legally.
We also live in a media-saturated culture. When you're watching something engineered to make money, the rough edges get smoothed away and things get dumbed down to make it more palatable for mass consumption. It's easy to make that mental leap from "this is dumbed-down" and "this is all owned" to "the world is dumbed-down" and "I am owned."
But the world doesn't change that quickly. You go outside and there's still the same sun, the same grass. If the media wants you to be a brainless consumer, that doesn't affect you or change anything about how you are..
If we listened to what other people expect of us, and think of us, and the limited opinion they have of what we can achieve, we'd all be in wheelchairs in a closet somewhere. And the media isn't even people. It's a desire to make money, under which people labor as a necessary evil.
If the world does get dumber, it will be because of things like No Child Left Behind, which under Bush crippled our educational system and screwed over a generation. But that generation still has its own culture via the internet, and at least it's a culture of words.
I follow the kids' show My Little Pony, which has attracted an audience of males around the age of 20. Most episodes have some sort of moral about friendship. All this is commonsense, but what I keep hearing from fans is that they normally get very cynical and dark messages from the media, and that it's very rare that a show talks about being a good person.
My point is that human morality is the same as it ever was. A violent videogame (or film) might make a lot of money, and make a lot of noise in the media, but that doesn't change what we ought to be as people.
We know in our hearts what we have to do and what we have to be. We spend a lot of time ignoring those commonsense instincts but that doesn't mean they go away.
It is always the foremost goal of humanity to shine a light in the darkness and leave something that will last. That's why we have children.
Now, you might not have the 50 million dollar marketing budget to shine a light over Times Square, but their light is artificial and meaningless and will not last. It's designed to move product.
Shine a light that will move people.