I previously noted this conference, described (somewhat) in this article. I can’t find the papers that allegedly have been released, but I’m familiar with Dan Klein’s previous work, some of which was criticized in this study, described here. I have no doubt that, if you cast the net widely enough, and include disciplines that aren’t directly involved in "forming the culture," so to speak, and institutions that may enroll lots of students (but typically don’t train our future leaders or generate--directly or indirectly--lots of Ph.D.s), you can paint a picture of the academy in which the ideological tilt of the professoriate is less pronounced than if you focus on elite institutions and on the humanities and social sciences. I’m also willing to concede that there are lots of folks--among them, many of my colleagues--whose voting behavior doesn’t affect their teaching. (I count such people as some of my best friends and closest colleagues at my institution.)
To the degree that there can be and, indeed, is a separation between professorial political predilections (say that quickly three times) and classroom behavior, it behooves the honest brokers out there to join the chorus in criticizing those who do abuse their positions to promote their political positions. Let’s not simply dismiss accounts of bias; rather, let’s uphold the independence of the academy by focusing our critical attention on the "anecdotes" and offering "bipartisan" criticism from both ends of the spectrum. That way, we can isolate the anecdotes.
In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to book the AEI press release promises.
Update: Papers are posted here.