Take a look at this flyer from Westboro Baptist Church, exulting in the deaths of Swedish tourists in the tsunami. Then come back to hear me rant about media coverage of churches and academia.
Done? Okay. One one hand, there are lots of stories in the media about how evil and liberal academia is -- John Leo has hardly written about anything else in his weekly US News column for the last decade. On the other hand, you don't hear that many stories about how evil and conservative churches are.
(Of course, not all churches are conservative. There are lots of liberal Christians. Unitarians are awesome. And not all academics are liberal -- I remember Dan Bonevac telling hundreds of students that each time you use the death penalty, it saves 8 innocent lives. Religious schools and economics departments are conservative, while academic scientists and engineers are not too different from smart non-academics.)
Here's a part of the explanation why media coverage slants one way and not the other. A very large percentage of Americans are in regular contact with churches. A very small percentage of Americans are in regular contact with colleges. While many people went to college, lots of them aren't there anymore and some went during the 1960s when everyone was a hippie. So if you say that insane leftish things are the norm at universities, people don't have access to counterevidence. But if you tried to spin a story that evil and hateful behavior like the flyer above is the norm at churches, lots of people would be aware of the counterevidence. Their churches don't say things like that! Readers would be angry and there would be nasty letters to the editor. So those stories don't get written.
Citation Patterns Across Journals
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