A Monday Arts story by Patricia Cohen focused on a study which unearthed the less-than-bombshell finding that academics as a group are politically liberal: "Professor Is a Label That Leans To the Left."
But the university study, "Why Are Professors Liberal?" also found another job attracting liberals, one that was not trumpeted by Cohen: Journalism.
A chart accompanying the story found that while "Professors" skewed most left-wing, with 43% claiming liberal politics compared to just 9% conservative, "Authors and journalists" came in second: Thirty-seven percent liberal to 11% conservative.
The overwhelmingly liberal tilt of university professors has been explained by everything from outright bias to higher I.Q. scores. Now new research suggests that critics may have been asking the wrong question. Instead of looking at why most professors are liberal, they should ask why so many liberals - and so few conservatives - want to be professors.
A pair of sociologists think they may have an answer: typecasting. Conjure up the classic image of a humanities or social sciences professor, the fields where the imbalance is greatest: tweed jacket, pipe, nerdy, longwinded, secular - and liberal. Even though that may be an outdated stereotype, it influences younger people's ideas about what they want to be when they grow up.
Cohen worked in the "Journalism...dominated by liberals" line in the fourth paragraph:
Nursing is what sociologists call "gender typed." Mr. Gross said that "professors and a number of other fields are politically typed." Journalism, art, fashion, social work and therapy are dominated by liberals; while law enforcement, farming, dentistry, medicine and the military attract more conservatives.
Cohen used the study (which employed findings from the General Social Survey) to dismiss conservative claims of anti-conservative bias in the academy:
Intentional discrimination, one of the most frequent and volatile charges made by conservatives, turned out not to play a significant role.