Ken Shepherd lives in New Carrollton, Md., with his wife, Laura, and children Mercy and Abraham. Ken graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland in 2001 with a Bachelors of Arts in Government & Politics and a citation in Public Leadership. 

Ken has worked full-time for the Media Research Center since May 2001 and prior to that was an MRC New Analysis Division intern from October 1998 to May 2001. 

In his spare time, Ken enjoys karaoke, tennis, reading, and discussing theology or politics.

Latest from Ken Shepherd
May 20, 2009, 2:11 PM EDT

If the cheers of Columbia University's Class of 2009 are any indication, the future of journalism will be looking for a federal bailout.

Washington Times correspondent Christina Bellantoni live-tweeted today's event, noting the remarks from university president Lee Bollinger appealing for more government-owned media outlets. Bollinger also received "big cheers" for his call for increased spending on public broadcasting.

Here are the relevant tweets from Bellantoni's feed in reverse chronological order (emphasis mine):

May 20, 2009, 12:45 PM EDT

Updated at bottom of post.

Did the former womanizer-in-chief pat The Nanny on the fanny? Numerous blogs and newspapers are asking that question thanks to a photo of former President Bill Clinton with his hand over actress Fran Drescher's posterior. 

Today's  "The Reliable Source" column in the Washington Post notes Bill Clinton's global jetsetting and charity fundraising, mentioning the appearance with Drescher at the Life Ball benefit. The column includes a photo of Clinton with his right arm around Drescher, his hand well above the waist, grasping her right shoulder.

Yet gossip columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts failed to note another photo that has caused a stir. Belgian Web site has the photo at its site (pictured at right). Here's a somewhat clunky English translation, courtesy of Google, from the original French:

May 19, 2009, 3:10 PM EDT

PBS's Bonnie Erbe is annoyed with Barack Obama's rhetoric at Sunday's Notre Dame commencement ceremony. The "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributor slammed the president's appeal to find "common ground" between pro-life and pro-choice activists.

"The Left has made great concessions: abandoning any semblance of seeking abortion on demand, acceding to all sorts of limits on abortion rights in the 37 [sic] years since Roe v. Wade became law," Erbe griped in her May 18 blog post, "Liberals Have Made Abortion Concessions, Now Conservatives Must Give Ground Too."

What planet is Erbe living on? Parental consent laws and partial-birth abortion bans have been vigorously contested by abortion rights advocates in courts, albeit with a mixed record of success in having the courts overturn the will of the people in enacting abortion regulations. Can Erbe honestly point to any abortion regulation -- parental consent, parental notification, required ultrasounds, waiting periods, partial-birth abortion bans -- that a major Democratic presidential aspirant has actively pushed for in the past 25 years? 

May 18, 2009, 11:57 AM EDT

Not only does Pope Benedict XVI have crappy PR, he has absolutely no excuse for it, Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller informs readers in a May 14 piece written for the May 25 dead-tree edition. Yet while insisting that her advice is submitted "with respect," Miller failed to remove the log from her own eye by considering the role that she and other reporters play in trumping up alleged papal PR blunders by virtual of their biased, shoddy reporting (emphasis mine):

Benedict makes international news only when he does something thoughtless (like "reconciling" with a Holocaust-denying bish-op) or when he fumbles in public, as he did on the plane to Cameroon in March when he awkwardly noted that AIDS "cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics; on the contrary, they increase it." This remark, though in keeping with his theology, reverberated in the media echo chamber for a week—overshadowing other stops that might have served him better, such as meeting with representatives of Cameroon's Muslim community and a mass for as many as a million people in Angola. Benedict will never be John Paul, but why don't he and his people do a better job—to be perfectly crass about it—marketing their message?

While Miller tries to insist that the Pope would be more loved and respected if only he had a better PR shop, she betrays the fact that she really finds fault with his steadfast adherence to traditional Catholic teachings, particularly on sexual morality. Far from constituting a "fumble," back in March a top AIDS researcher -- no conservative Catholic he -- defended as accurate the Pope's remarks on condoms and AIDS infection rates in Africa. It seems that Miller is either ignorant of or willingly disregards this fact two months later. As I noted in NewsBusters back then:

May 16, 2009, 10:26 PM EDT

Naming a man who wants to levy sin taxes on soda pop to be the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might not be the politically wisest thing for President Obama to do, especially on the heels of massive TEA Party protests. But then again, with media outlets like the Washington Post leaving that controversy unmentioned, perhaps the White House calculated correctly that the risk of staffing the federal government's public health branches with nanny state activists was minimal.

On May 15, President Obama announced in a press statement that New York City health commissioner Thomas Frieden will take the helm of the CDC in June. Reporting the story in the May 16 paper were Post staffers Debbi Wilgoren and Michael D. Shear (along with some help from staffer Ceci Connolly).

Wilgoren and Shear allowed "an industry-funded group" spokesman to slam Frieden as "barely recogniz[ing]" the line between "government's responsibility in regulating health and what is the individual's responsibility," yet they curiously omitted perhaps the clearest example of the same, Frieden's support of a penny-per-ounce soda tax. This even though the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the idea earlier in the week.

Slate's William Saletan noted Frieden's push for a penny-per-ounce soda tax in early April:

May 15, 2009, 12:45 PM EDT

There's a legitimate debate to be had about the media's coverage of the alleged epidemic of "sexting" -- teenagers sending pornographic or suggestive photos of themselves nude or semi-nude via cell phone.*

After all, the media are well-known to glom onto a few anecdotes and drum up a "growing trend" without the benefit of empirical data to back up the alarming claim. That being said, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford is not the petulant adolescent man to make that point.

Indeed, Morford actually aims at excusing sexting altogether, all while distorting and mocking average Americans' sexual mores in his May 15 column, "You Dirty Kids!":

May 14, 2009, 3:54 PM EDT

In addition to the anti-Catholicism present in the forthcoming release of "Angels & Demons", there's another politically correct element to the movie adaptation of the Dan Brown novel that's worth noting: Hollywood's aversion to portraying radical Muslims as the bad guys.

From Christian film critic Dr. Ted Baehr's May 14 review (h/t Townhall's Greg Hengler; emphasis mine):

May 14, 2009, 12:16 PM EDT

Same-sex marriage remains illegal in most U.S. states, including the state of California where comedian and actress Wanda Sykes was "married" last October prior to the successful passage of Proposition 8. What's more, the issue is highly contentious in the District of Columbia where many religious African-American Democratic voters are upset with the city council for approving a bill to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

Yet the Washington Post seems confident that its readers will take no offense to the paper's granting the label of "wife" to the Limbaugh death-wishing comic's lover.

From today's Reliable Source gossip column:

May 13, 2009, 12:20 PM EDT

<p><img src=" vspace="3" width="109" align="right" border="0" height="253" hspace="3" /><b>Update #2 (16:15 EDT):</b> <a href="" target="_blank">Greg Hengler of</a> has video of the interview mentioned in my first update. He notes that while Brewer is hot under the collar, the student she talked to didn't seem to care that Obama was not receiving an honorary degree tonight. </p><p><b>Update (14:45 EDT):</b> A few minutes ago Brewer pressed an ASU student for his thoughts on Obama not receiving an honorary doctorate. As usual, she was quite irate at the perceived snub. </p><p>MSNBC's Contessa Brewer is bound and determined to maintain a grudge on behalf of President Obama against a university at which he's honored to give the Class of 2009 commencement speech this evening.</p><p>Today, via <a href="" target="_blank">her Twitter account</a>, Brewer picked up on <a href="/blogs/jeff-poor/2009/04/10/msnbc-hosts-visibly-upset-arizona-state-not-awarding-honorary-degree-obam" target="_blank">her televised rant from early April</a> [video below page break] about how Arizona State University is neglecting to give President Obama an honorary degree when he delivers the commencement speech there this evening: </p><blockquote><p>Tonight the Pres. gives commencement speech at ASU. I'm still shocked ASU won't give him an honorary degree. Seems rude &amp; illogical. </p></blockquote><p>As NewsBusters contributor Jeff Poor noted on April 10:</p><blockquote>

May 11, 2009, 5:32 PM EDT

Who does Michelle Obama think she is being a stay-at-home mom rather than a career woman? A Republican?!

That's the sentiment U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe conveys to readers of the magazine's Thomas Jefferson Street blog in back-to-back May 11 posts.

In the first, "Michelle Obama's Mom-In-Chief Image Is a Cave to Politics and Stereotypes," argues that (emphasis mine):

... Mrs. Obama's "Mom-in-Chief" image was created more by Obama image-makers David Axelrod et. al. to soften her into a first lady Americans could love. I think it is a sad state of affairs that Americans are more comfortable with a non-threatening first lady than with a career woman, but it is also a stereotype that screams to be abolished. Michelle Obama is just the person who could have done it, but she decided against it. Instead, she caved into advisors' demands.

The truth is, until that stereotype becomes history, all women will suffer less power and clout in the workplace.

May 9, 2009, 12:02 PM EDT

If you're a country music fan you might be advised to avoid reading the Washington Post Style section when its writers tackle country music. It might make you want to put your boot up the critic's posterior.

The latest nuisance is J. Freedom du Lac's analysis of why country music radio is so chock full of songs about small town America. To you and me, the answer might be obvious, but du Lac set out to paint the trend as "divisive" and reactionary. In this excerpt, du Lac sets out to discredit the professional opinion of a D.C.-area country music station programmer:

Says Meg Stevens, the WMZQ program director: "It's a global theme: Wherever you're from, that's your place. You see what's happening with the economy and what's going on in the world, and people are getting in closer to their roots and their community, whether you're from rural Virginia or downtown D.C."

But the Atkins song and others of its ilk -- from Jason Aldean's "Hicktown" and Miranda Lambert's "Famous in a Small Town" to Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" and Josh Turner's "Way Down South" -- are narrowcasting to a specific community: the core country audience, whose roots aren't exactly in America's urban centers.

The symbolism and prideful sentiments of the songs are intended to create a sense of belonging among people with similar backgrounds and lifestyles, or at least people who romanticize life in the rural South. (It's not a place; it's a state of mind.) To some listeners, though, it might sound as if the artists are closing ranks.

May 8, 2009, 6:14 PM EDT

<div style="float: right"><object width="240" height="194"><param name="movie" value=";c1=0x2645A2&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src=";c1=0x2645A2&... allowfullscreen="true" width="240" height="194"></embed></object></div>Chris Matthews just can't get it up. The Democratic Party label that is.<p>On the May 8 &quot;Hardball&quot;, the MSNBC anchor noted in his Political Sideshow segment that  Reps. Jim Moran (Va.) and Bob Brady (Pa.), are up in arms about erectile dysfunction drug ads running on television and are sponsoring legislation before the House to ban television stations from running ads for drugs like Viagra and Cialis from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Democratic congressmen argue the ads are indecent for children. [get audio for <a href=" target="_blank">download here</a>]</p><p>While the legislation's premise seems prudish at worst and laughably silly at best, Matthews insisted that the congressmen, who are &quot;regular guys&quot; and &quot;both friends of mine&quot; were simply &quot;looking out for the kids.&quot; All the same, he failed to give the Democratic Party credit for threatening the cold shower of government regulation on the drug commercials. </p>

May 8, 2009, 4:39 PM EDT

<div style="float: right"><object width="240" height="194"><param name="movie" value=";c1=0x1F43BB&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src=";c1=0x1F43BB&... allowfullscreen="true" width="240" height="194"></embed></object></div>Mother's Day was <a href="" target="_blank">invented by Anna Jarvis</a>, a West Virginian who, from 1907 to 1914 devoted considerable energy to establishing state and national holidays marking Mother's Day. Jarvis's inspiration, of course, was her deep devotion to her late mother. <p>But don't tell Whoopi Goldberg that. [audio for <a href=" target="_blank">download here</a>]</p><p>&quot;I feel like Mother's Day is a man's holiday. You know, because it was put together, a woman didn't put together Mother's Day. A woman put together several other holidays but Mother's Day was not one of them,&quot; the moderator of ABC's &quot;The View&quot;  insisted on the May 8 program.</p><p>The faulty assertion came during a chat with Alyse Myers, author of &quot;Who Do You Think You Are?&quot;, which chronicles her strained relationship with her mother. </p>

May 7, 2009, 6:16 PM EDT

<div style="float: right"><object width="212" height="172"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en&amp;fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="

May 7, 2009, 11:41 AM EDT

President Obama is proposing a measure today to slowly kill the D.C. school voucher program by attrition. Because the liberal National Education Association wants Congress to immediately kill the program, the Washington Post's Bill Turque and Shailagh Murray hailed Obama's plan as "an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue."

President Obama will propose setting aside enough money for all 1,716 students in the District's voucher program to continue receiving grants for private school tuition until they graduate from high school, but he would allow no new students to join the program, administration officials said yesterday.

The proposal, to be released in budget documents today, is an attempt to navigate a middle way on a contentious issue. School choice advocates, including Republicans and many low-income families, say the program gives poor children better access to quality education. Teachers unions and other education groups active in the Democratic Party regard vouchers as a drain on public education that benefits relatively few students, and they say the students don't achieve at appreciably higher levels at their new schools.

May 6, 2009, 2:36 PM EDT

<div style="float: right"><object width="240" height="194"><param name="movie" value=";c1=0x308C87&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src=";c1=0x308C87&... allowfullscreen="true" width="240" height="194"></embed></object></div>After the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama, we often heard from the mainstream media about how shipping executive companies don't want to arm their civilian crews for fear of an escalation of violence from pirates, not to mention the potential legal and liability headaches presented by such a policy change.<p>Well, yesterday, shipping company executive Philip Shapiro threw a wrench in that meme in his testimony before a Senate subcommittee in which he called for Congress to remove the legal and regulatory obstacles to arming civilian merchant vessels.</p><p> Unfortunately the story was ignored this morning by the broadcast network morning shows. What's more, Nexis and Web site searches yielded no print stories from today's Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times  -- although there is an online <a href=",... target="_blank">article by Rebecca Cole available here</a> -- or the New York Times. The Gray Lady <a href="/blogs/ken-shepherd/2009/05/01/ny-times-fails-report-maersk-alabama-captains-call-arm-crews" target="_blank">also failed to report </a>on Richard Phillips' pro-armed crew remarks last week. </p><p>To its credit, CNN, both in print and broadcast, reported the story. From a <a href="" target="_blank">May 5 story</a>:</p><blockquote>

May 5, 2009, 5:29 PM EDT

The nation's gaffer-in-chief Joe Biden really stepped in it last week with his remarks about how Americans should avoid flying and taking the subway to avert coming down with the swine flu. It's safe to say the conventional wisdom around the country and inside the Beltway is that Biden really blundered.

But not to Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom, which in the May 11-18 edition gave Obama's veep a mere sideways arrow, hinting that role in pushing Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) to become a Democrat mitigates his political foot-in-mouth disease:

arrow neutral Biden: Stupidly tells “Today” we shouldn’t travel. Stick to bringing GOPs across the aisle.

Of course, that presumes Specter as newly-minted Democrat is a master stroke, which is not necessarily the case. Indeed the evidence seems to point to the contrary.

May 4, 2009, 4:39 PM EDT

Bonnie Erbe | NewsBusters.orgThe line of liberal journalists waiting to give the GOP free advice on its future is longer than the queue for Jonas Brothers concert tickets and at least 100 times more petulant than the 'tweens lined up for same.

U.S. News & World Report contributing editor and PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe, for example, has been on a tear in recent weeks. Whether it's hyping Meghan McCain as a fresh voice for the GOP or praising Bristol Palin as more mature than her mother, Erbe has done little to hide her disdain for social conservatives in the Republican Party that can actually form their arguments without coming off like a vapid valley girl whining about, like, creepy old guys like Karl Rove.

Well, in an April 30 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post Erbe urged GOP chairman Michael Steele to abort the Republican Party's coalition with religious conservatives:

May 4, 2009, 11:57 AM EDT

Today's Los Angeles Times has a story about freelance comedy writers who get paid for their jokes submitted to late night comics that actually make the cut and air in a monologue. Times staffers Matea Gold and Richard Verrier report that "For some late-night hosts, the laughs come cheap."

But alas, it's actually a violation of labor contracts for late night shows to pay freelancers. What's more, with Conan O'Brien acceeding to Leno's throne in June, the practice is expected to stop altogether for NBC's "Tonight Show."

O'Brien is one of the few late-night hosts to refuse freelance jokes, and East Coast guild officials used his move to privately remind their California counterparts of the prohibition.

"Conan is one of the key players in this industry, and we knew he was pure on this issue," said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA, East. "This was just an opportunity to let the West know that this was a culture that was moving west. We just want to encourage that culture."
May 1, 2009, 5:04 PM EDT

Dear religious pro-life Catholics, get over yourselves. Signed, Amy Sullivan.

Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but the Time magazine staffer practically expressed those sentiments in two April 30 Swampland blog posts wherein she suggests that even the pope wouldn't mind hanging out with Obama on stage at Notre Dame when he accepts his honorary doctorate later this month.

"The Vatican apparently needs to get on-message--its newpaper gives Obama's first 100 days a tentative thumbs-up," Sullivan snarkily noted in a an April 30 post entitled "The Phantom Menace," referring to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which Sullivan considers a virtually non-existent pro-life movement bogeyman:

[Ed Henry's press conference] question is a misstatement of Obama's campaign pledge to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." Of course, before Obama could sign the bill, Congress would have to first pass it. And he's never expressed the hope that Congress drop what it's doing and prioritize FOCA.

Less than an hour later, Sullivan sought to marginalize conservative Catholics who are disturbed by Notre Dame honoring the very pro-choice President Obama: