Over the past two decades, what have the U.S. trends been for the following important measures of social health: high school dropout rates, college enrollment, juvenile crime, drunken driving, traffic deaths, infant mortality, life expectancy, per capita gasoline consumption, workplace injuries, air pollution, divorce, male-female wage equality, charitable giving, voter turnout, per capita GDP and teen pregnancy?

The answer for all of them is the same: The trend is positive. Almost all those varied metrics of social wellness have improved by more than 20% over the past two decades. And that’s not counting the myriad small wonders of modern medicine that have improved our quality of life as well as our longevity: the anti-depressants and insulin pumps and quadruple bypasses…

I suspect, in the long run, the media bias against incremental progress may be more damaging than any bias the media display toward the political left or right. The media are heavily biased toward extreme events, and they are slightly biased toward negative events — though in their defense, that bias may just be a reflection of the human brain’s propensity to focus more on negative information than positive, a trait extensively documented by neuroscience and psychology studies.