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
March 10, 2011, 1:01 PM EST

So MSNBC's Thomas Roberts actually gave air time this morning to a conservative to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and congressional Republican efforts to defend it in court.

But alas, the openly gay anchor tag-teamed with gay activist Evan Wolfson, putting Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg on the defensive during the entire segment.

With the screen behind him labeled "The Case for Marriage Equality," Roberts set up the debate segment by noting that "a House panel has voted along party lines to defend this controversial law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages."

March 9, 2011, 4:17 PM EST

For the second day in a row, MSNBC worked up a biased segment with Rock the Vote president Heather Smith about a "war on voting" -- see screen capture below page break-- by Republican legislators in numerous states where the GOP controls both state legislative chambers, such as New Hampshire.

Today "NewsNation" host Tamron Hall picked up the torch from colleague Thomas Roberts, who conducted a softball interview with Smith on March 8.

Hall even parroted some of his script from the day before:

March 9, 2011, 12:24 PM EST

Calls for a U.S. or NATO-imposed no-fly zone over Libya to aid the fledgling rebellion against dictator Muammar Qadhafi have been met with protests by Obama administration officials that it is a logistical nightmare requiring careful planning and forethought.

While that's something to that argument, fears of Libya's air force are way overblown, some retired Air Force officers argue, according to Aviation Week's David Fulghum, in his March 8 blog post, "Libyan Air Defenses Would Fade Fast" (emphases mine):

March 8, 2011, 4:17 PM EST

In its daytime programming today, MSNBC has been hyping today's 100th anniversary of  International Women's Day.

On her 1 p.m. Eastern program, anchor Andrea Mitchell noted how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the International Women of Courage Awards to "ten women rights leaders from around the world."

While Mitchell then noted the lack of progress that Afghanistan's government was making in terms of women's rights, she failed to report how the Obama administration has backtracked on efforts aimed at promoting advances towards equal rights and greater access to education for Afghan women.

As Rajiv Chandrasekaran noted in his Sunday  Washington Post article -- "In Afghanistan, U.S. shifts strategy on women's rights as it eyes wider priorities" -- the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has backed down from earlier ambitious, concrete goals for female property ownership and education in Afghanistan, quite possibly in accord with the desire of top-level Obama administration officials to wind down a U.S. presence there (emphasis mine):

March 8, 2011, 1:36 PM EST

"With such a strong bloc of these young people voting Democratic [in presidential elections], Republican leaders in some key swing states are looking to even the playing field coming up in 2012," MSNBC's Thomas Roberts insisted as he introduced Heather Smith of Rock the Vote (RTV) in a segment devoted to that group's fears about "voter suppression" -- see RTV screen capture below the page break -- in states such as New Hampshire, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Missouri.

Those are four states where Republicans control both houses of the state legislature and are pushing reform laws aimed at voter ID requirements, tightening up residency requirements that largely impact college kids, and/or repealing last-minute voter registration at the polls.

March 8, 2011, 10:44 AM EST

To Washington Post staffers Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger, former president Bill Clinton is "Charlie Sheen without the crazy, a polymath with no 'stop' button -- and, yeah, a total bitchin' rock star."

That's how the gossip columnists cooed about Clinton's appearance at Sunday's Kuwait-America Foundation dinner in their March 8 The Reliable Source feature.

March 7, 2011, 5:00 PM EST

"State Republicans seek more limits on voters" warned the front page Washington Post headline for Peter Wallsten's March 7 article.

"GOP says the push targets fraud; Democrats call it a power play," added the subheader. The online version of the article had a decidedly less-loaded headline, but Wallsten's article skewed towards the Democratic complaint (emphasis mine):

March 7, 2011, 12:31 PM EST

Presenting the same-sex marriage debate in Maryland's state legislature as one about "marriage equality," openly gay MSNBC host Thomas Roberts discussed the matter with Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, who is also openly gay.

The segment, entitled "Cold Feet In Maryland?" aired today at 11:17 a.m. EST.

"Supporters of Marriage Equality Wavering on Bill" the lower-thirds caption read as Capehart described how supporters of same-sex marriage are a few votes shy of passing the bill in Maryland's House of Delegates. A similar bill has already passed the Democrat-dominated Maryland Senate and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has pledged his signature should the bill reach his desk.

March 4, 2011, 3:44 PM EST

The editorially-liberal Washington Post is hardly an enemy of government regulation. Except, of course, when it comes to moves to restrict abortion.

In Wednesday's paper, the editorial board lamented "Va.'s abortion end run."

"Mischief, not public health, drives the push for new regulation," griped the subheader. The online edition headline snarked that "Mischief drives change in Virginia abortion rules."

The Post dismissed as unprincipled and slippery the manner with which pro-life state legislators had pushed through a law that would require the Old Dominion's abortion clinics to be regulated like hospitals:

March 3, 2011, 5:40 PM EST

Defending their "Shared commitment to women and children," on the Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith" site, the Revs. Richard Cizik and Debra Haffner joined forces today support federal tax monies flowing to Planned Parenthood.

Cizik, you may recall, is a bit of a media favorite because he hails from a generally theologically conservative tradition but has been moving leftward politically over the past few years.

Haffner is liberal theologically and politically, a Unitarian-Universalist minister and the former president of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), a group that lobbies to end federal funding of abstinence-until-marriage sex ed programs.

As we've noted, the On Faith feature often skews liberal in theology and politics, and the Cizik/Haffner tag-team fits hand-in-glove with the leftward tack of the site.

Here's the duo's argument against defunding Planned Parenthood (emphases mine):

March 3, 2011, 12:28 PM EST

Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's federal minister for minorities and that government's only Christian, was assassinated yesterday on the streets of Islamabad. Bloomberg News is reporting that the Pakistan Taliban is claiming responsibility for the shooting:

As many as four men ambushed Shahbaz Bhatti, a 42-year-old Christian, yesterday as he left home without a security escort, Geo television reported, citing a police official, Bin Yamin. Bhatti was dead when brought to the city’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the institution’s spokesman, Azmatullah Quraishi, said by telephone.

 

Television channels showed leaflets found at the scene in which the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for killing Bhatti. They said he was targeted for heading a government- appointed committee to review the blasphemy law, which prescribes the death penalty for anyone convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

 

Bhatti, a Roman Catholic and former leader of Pakistan’s main minority-rights group, was killed eight weeks after Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was shot to death by one of his bodyguards. Both men had called publicly for changes to the [nation's blasphemy] law.

March 2, 2011, 4:42 PM EST

Given the sacrifices that U.S. sailors and Marines make to serve our country, it hardly seems right to me to force them to go for months on end aboard surface ships without the right to light up a smoke.

But I'm not Mark Thompson.

Today the Time magazine staffer dusted off a convenient but recently-ignored liberal media bogeyman, Big Tobacco:

March 2, 2011, 11:58 AM EST

Today's Supreme Court ruling in Snyder v. Phelps is proving to be yet another occasion for the media to falsely describe the homosexuality-fixated Westboro Baptist Church as a "fundamentalist" congregation.

The Associated Press, MSNBC and NPR.org have been among the news outlets using that tag for the Topeka, Kansas, organization that protests funerals of soliders, celebrating their deaths by claiming God killed them because he hates "fags."

But the AP's own style manual strongly cautions against the use of the term "fundamentalist," noting that the term "fundamentalist has to a large extent taken on pejorative connotations except when applied to groups that stress strict, literal interpretations of Scripture and separation from other Christians."

"In general," the AP manual adds, "do not use [the term] fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to itself."

At time of publication, Westboro's website was unavailable, but a cached version of its FAQ page on Google yielded no description of WBC as "fundamentalist." Here's how the church describes itself:

March 1, 2011, 6:08 PM EST

"President Obama has been taking a truckload of flak from the right for his measured response to the crises embroiling the Middle East," MSNBC's Martin Bashir harumphed as he opened his "Clear the Air" commentary on the March 1 program.

"Measured is my word because it's certainly not one that right-wing pundits have been using," Bashir complained.

Of course the term "measured" implies deliberate calculation and an overarching strategy, whereas the timeline of the Obama administration response to Libya suggests there has been, objectively speaking, some amount of "dithering" by team Obama.

Indeed, even liberal observers such as MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Washington Post's Eugene Robinson have been critical of Obama's approach to Libya.

February 28, 2011, 6:53 PM EST

Providing Washington Post Metro section readers a review of the just-closed legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly, staff writers Rosalind Helderman and Fredrick Kunkle today deployed some colorfully loaded language that portrayed conservative Republicans in an unfavorable light.

For example [emphasis mine], the "divided legislature reached a compromise on budget amendments that mollified Republicans bent on paring government to its core services and Democrats eager to restore spending on schools, health care and other priorities as the economy improves."

But what really struck me was the part a few paragraphs later where Helderman and Kunkle described the successful effort Republicans waged to pass a bill opposed by pro-choice activists and politicians [emphasis mine]:

February 28, 2011, 4:19 PM EST

Imagine that Pat Robertson or Dr. James Dobson took out a full-page ad in a mainstream media publication hinting that Jesus himself is squarely behind the Republicans' efforts to curb spending and curtail the size and scope of the federal government.

The media would certainly cover the interesting theological and political claims at hand but they'd also be certain to cite apolitical and/or liberal Christian thinkers who would decry the crass and cynical exploitation of Christ for political matters upon which Scripture is silent, such as the U.S. federal budget.

Yet when it came to the liberal group Sojourners asking "What Would Jesus Cut" in an ad in today's Politico, CNN's Belief Blog failed to report the objections of concerns that conservative Christians and apolitical Christian theologians would raise

From Dan Gilgoff's Feb. 28 CNN.com Belief Blog post (emphasis mine):

February 28, 2011, 12:09 PM EST

The secular mainstream media often do a shoddy job of accurately reporting on religious news, but this takes the cake.

Writing about how the Rev. James St. George was terminated earlier this month from his post as part-time professor at Chestnut Hill College, the Associated Press insisted the openly gay man "belong[s] to a branch of Catholicism not associated with the Vatican that has different views on gay issues."

The church where St. George is a pastor is "affiliated with the Old Catholic Apostolic Church of America, which vows no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and performs commitment ceremonies for gays and lesbians," the Associated Press reported.

February 25, 2011, 4:03 PM EST

On Tuesday I wrote about how ESPN.com's Rick Reilly slammed 16-year-old Iowa wrestler Joel Northrup for his decision to forfeit a state tournament wrestling match against 14-year-old freshman Cassy Herkelman, citing his religious convictions about the impropriety of wrestling a girl.

Reilly mocked Northrup's beliefs as "wrong-headed," oddly comparing his refusal to wrestle Herkelman with someone using their religion to justify "pok[ing] the elderly with sharp sticks."

But it seems Reilly is an aberration with his bigoted vehemence, so I thought it good to point out a sports writer who commended Northrup's decision -- even though he respectfully disagrees with it -- and challenged America's kids to stay true to their convictions.

So kudos to Washington Post "Kids Post" feature writer Fred Bowen, for his February 24 article, "Honoring your beliefs makes you a winner."

Here's an excerpt:

 

February 25, 2011, 1:08 PM EST

Two Iranian warships docked in the Syrian seaport of Latakia on Thursday, the Associated Press reported yesterday:

The chief of Iran's navy, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, said the frigate Alvand and the supply ship Kharq are in Syria for a training mission. He rejected Israeli criticism that the trip was provocative.

Of course, the Iranian and Syrian regimes are allies and co-sponsors of terroristic violence against the state of Israel, an ally of the United States.

So certainly such a provocative move should command coverage by the mainstream media, yet thus far among the Big Three networks, it appears from a search of Nexis that ABC has ignored the story while NBC and CBS have only done anchor briefs on the development.

 

February 24, 2011, 9:08 PM EST

Earlier today I noted that mainstream media have not been critical of the Obama administration's poor efforts at evacuating American nationals from Libya.

Oddly enough it appears the taxpayer-subsidized NPR has.

From Bill Chappell's Feb. 24 blog post, "U.S. Struggles to Evacuate Libya; Others Don't":