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
June 4, 2009, 1:34 PM EDT

From time to time, I like to highlight when the media do something right, so today I thought I'd give hearty kudos to San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius for his June 4 column, "Bureaucrat scuffs dream of homeless shoe shiner."

In his page A1 story, the Chronicle columnist informs readers of the plight of a homeless man who, rather than panhandling for spare change, decided to earn his own money by shining shoes.

But it seems the enterprising man is now being punished for his responsibility and entrepreneurial spirit by city bureaucrats shoving red tape in his face:

June 3, 2009, 12:52 PM EDT

Updated below

It was wrong of Playboy to publish a top ten list of conservative women its writer Guy Cimbalo would like to "hate-f***" but, c'mon, we all know Michelle Malkin had it coming. That's the gist of PBS "To the Contrary" host and U.S. News contributing editor Bonnie Erbe's June 3 blog post, "Playboy Mix of Sex, Hate, and Politics Demeans Conservative Women" (emphasis mine):

Yesterday, I was contacted by the executive director of SmartGirlPolitics.org, a conservative women's website, to stand up for conservative women treated despicably by the media. Here I am, doing just that.... A couple of caveats are in order. First, I probably disagree politically with much of SmartGirlPolitics.org's agenda--I know I disagree completely with the group's position on abortion rights. But as a nonpartisan, I'm also a firm believer in supporting all members of my gender when attacked due to their gender. I am supporting these women herewith.

June 2, 2009, 6:01 PM EDT

"Has the non-negotiable stance and rhetoric against abortion rights strayed from the Scripture’s call to choose life and led to a grave disrespect for life even inside our houses of worship?"

So asks Chicago Tribune religion reporter/blogger Manya Brachear in a June 1 The Seeker blog post, headlined "Is abortion inevitable consequence of abortion debate?" It followed in the wake of the May 31 shooting of abortionist George Tiller. Tiller, an usher at Wichita's Reformation Lutheran Church, was shot during the Sunday service there.

"Has the quest to save lives robbed people of their humanity," Brachear asks in concluding her story. Nowhere in her article, however, did she look at the other side of the coin and wonder if the rhetoric of abortion rights activists leads inevitably to the moral legitimization of infanticide.

Surely Ms. Brachear is not unaware of Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer, who believes it should be legal to kill disabled newborns. From a 2006 "You Ask the Questions"  interview in the British newspaper The Independent (questions are in bold):

June 2, 2009, 11:56 AM EDT

Lu Parker with Antonio Villaraigosa, via her Web siteWhile the liberal Democratic mayor of Los Angeles has a thing for news babes, it seems his hometown paper has a penchant for leaving out the mayor's party affiliation from reporting on his liaisons.

"A Los Angeles television reporter is dating Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, about two years after his extramarital affair with another local newscaster led to the breakup of his 20-year marriage," Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times informed readers in a June 2 article devoid of the mayor's Democratic party affiliation:

KTLA-TV Channel 5 reporter Lu Parker, a former Miss U.S.A., has been dating Villaraigosa since March, station officials confirmed Monday. On Sunday, while working as a weekend anchor, Parker announced a story about the likelihood of Villaraigosa running for governor in 2010.

The LAT is no stranger to omitting Villaraigosa's party affiliation from readers, as we at NewsBusters have noted. The omissions are all the more glaring when contrasted to the paper's treatment of scandal-plagued California Republican politicians. As I noted in NewsBusters back in October 2007:

June 1, 2009, 4:52 PM EDT

Abortionist George Tiller's murder is an act of terrorism for which "all pro-life extremists" are to blame, abortion-mongering, taxpayer-subsidized Bonnie Erbe bellows on her U.S. News & World Report blog.

Of course, by "pro-life extremists," the PBS "To the Contrary" host means anyone who has ever called abortion what it is -- the killing of an unborn baby:

Let George Tiller's murder be the last straw. It is time for America's pro-choice majority to stop standing idly by as extreme so-called pro-life advocates murder obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs) who are providing women with the legal right to terminate pregnancies. I am careful to note I am referring here to EXTREMIST pro-life advocates, people who refer to abortion as "baby-killing" and other inflammatory rhetoric. I am explicitly not referring to mainstreamers who object to abortion due to religious beliefs, but who refrain from using inflammatory speech.

May 21, 2009, 6:09 PM EDT

In a classic example of a dog-bites-man non-story, the Associated Press is dutifully furthering the "censorship" whine of a rock band that laments that Wal-Mart won't stock its new album, "21st Century Breakdown."

Today, Associated Press music writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody hacked out 13 paragraphs to relay how "Green Day lashes out at Wal-Mart policy."

Of course the discount retailer's standards for music fit for its shelves are hardly new nor are they being applied out of the blue to the rockers. Nonetheless, Moody stacked the deck by quoting two of the band's three members against one Wal-Mart executive.

May 20, 2009, 6:01 PM EDT

Protesting a critic's claim of bias, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer insisted earlier today in a tweet that she "criticize[s] anyone who I think isn't making sense."

"You're just focusing on one side," Brewer added in her reply to a Twitter user who complained that Brewer trashes Republicans "but [has] nothing else to talk about."

The same Twitter user, Carol Reed, urged Brewer to "[w]atch a tape of yourself & you will see it."

Good advice, as our archive of Brewer bias shows plenty of doozies, like:

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 7sur7.be 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="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/05/brewer_contessa_twi... vspace="3" width="109" align="right" border="0" height="253" hspace="3" /><b>Update #2 (16:15 EDT):</b> <a href="http://townhall.com/blog/g/936d5656-a7e1-4aed-ba58-ed334a340a06" target="_blank">Greg Hengler of Townhall.com</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="http://twitter.com/contessabrewer" 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="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=yd6UQukUvk&amp;c1=0x2645A2&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=yd6UQukUvk&amp;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="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/05/2009-05-08-MSNBC-Ha... 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="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=yd6UZueu6U&amp;c1=0x1F43BB&... name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=yd6UZueu6U&amp;c1=0x1F43BB&... allowfullscreen="true" width="240" height="194"></embed></object></div>Mother's Day was <a href="http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/story-of-anna-jarvis.html" 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="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/05/2009-05-08-ABC-View... 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>