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 22, 2010, 5:37 PM EDT

Perhaps Washington Post reporter Michael Birnbaum needs to brush up his reading comprehension skills. Either that or his bias is coloring what should be straightforward reporting.

Here's how Birnbaum opened his page A16 article in the May 22 paper:

The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards that minimize the separation of church and state and say that America is not a democracy but a "constitutional republic." 

Really? The second point is ludicrous to describe as "controversial." The U.S. system of government is not direct democracy but a representative republic regulated by a constitution, hence a "constitutional republic."  As to the first allegation in Birnbaum's lead paragraph, this writer did some homework and found the actual text of the newly-approved standard in question, which applies to government courses:

Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed its free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.” 

The notion that that standard "minimize[s]" the notion of "separation of church and state" must be read into the text of the actual newly-approved standard, it certainly isn't logically concluded from it.

Later in the article, Birnbaum insisted that "the new standards... draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses." Here's the actual language of the newly devised standard:

May 21, 2010, 3:41 PM EDT

Perhaps you could call it #footinmouthfriday for Devin Gordon.

The former Newsweek editor snarked on GQ.com's The Wire blog earlier this afternoon about Missouri Republican Roy Blunt's "follow Friday" (#ff) tweet urging his Twitter followers to check out and follow Best Buddies International and the Special Olympics.

In a post entitled, "Really? You're Using #FollowFriday To Score Cheap Political Points?", Devin Gordon snarked:

#FF @We'reCallingBullSh*tOnYouCongressmanRoyBlunt @OhYoureSoooooSuperior @IHeartTards

It's one thing to pick on a congressman as a cynical opportunist, it's another to throw in a gratuitous and hurtful term to refer to retarded children in the process.

What's more, Rep. Blunt has worked across the aisle with Democrats in the past to allocate federal funding to the Special Olympics.

Perhaps @Devingo913 is unaware of that.

May 21, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

Another day, another liberal meme.

Yesterday I tackled how Newsweek's Howard Fineman was attacking Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul for picking a fight that the liberal media, in fact, was whipping up.

Today, it's Fineman colleague Ben Adler and his insistence that conservatives are fixated on smearing both Elena Kagan and softball players everywhere as gay.

Adler made his argument in his May 20 The Gaggle blog post, "What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball" by picking apart a comment Fox Business Network's John Stossel made on Fox News Channel in which he defended Paul's comments regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.What annoyed Adler most was Stossel's quip that gay softball leagues, for example, should not be forced to admit straight players:

The gay softball team? The proverbial black student association has long been every anti-civil-rights pundit's favorite shibboleth, but why suddenly gay softball team? Do gay people have separate softball teams that don't allow straight people to play for them? If so, it's still an awfully random example. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's a dog whistle to everyone who thinks that women who play softball are gay, and that therefore Solicitor General Elena Kagan is gay. Stay classy, John. 

There are two problems with this. First and foremost, it was gay groups that first made a stink about an innocuous photo by the Wall Street Journal that was clearly selected as a clever tease for a story in the May 11 edition. The headline and caption for the Kagan-playing-softball photo were as follows:

May 20, 2010, 4:21 PM EDT

"What the hell is wrong you you people?!"

That's essentially what PBS "To the Contrary" host and US News & World Report contributor Bonnie Erbe wrote in her May 19 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post "Congress Handling the Gulf Oil Spill Crisis Better than Most Americans."

"Although the Gulf spill has lowered the percentage of Americans who support offshore oil drilling, a new Pew Forum poll finds a stunning 54 percent still support it," an incredulous Erbe wrote, adding, "So it will take more than a major, irreversible environmental disaster to persuade gas glugging Americans to trade in their pickups for hybrids. I see."

To Erbe, it can't possibly be that average Americans are more even-keeled than their hot-headed, grandstanding congressmen who would capitalize on a disaster for crass political gain. No, it's that oil-addicted American idiots across the fruited plain just aren't following the example of their betters on the Hill:

May 20, 2010, 3:34 PM EDT

The general election campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak has started "ugly," according to Jay Newton-Small. In her May 20 Swampland blog post, the Time magazine staffer offered as evidence the former's press conference yesterday in which:

[H]e spent much of the speech blasting Sestak. In his 7-minute opening remarks he said “I” or “me” 52 times – including the thank yous – and “Joe or “he” 43 times.

May 20, 2010, 12:21 PM EDT

A persistent meme of the liberal mainstream media this election year is that the Tea Party is steeped (pun not intended) in racism and/or neo-Confederate sympathies. Howard Fineman is more than happy to breathe new life in that storyline in yesterday's attack leveled at Kentucky Republican senatorial nominee Dr. Rand Paul in particular and Bluegrass State conservatives in general.

In his May 20 "Rand Paul and D.W. Griffith," blog post, the Newsweek staffer not-too-subtly compared Kentucky's Tea Party contingent of 2010 with the more racially-charged elements he perceived among some anti-busing opponents in the 1970s:

If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor.

But there is another Kentucky, one I witnessed as a reporter starting out there when court-ordered busing began in the 1970s. It is a border state with a comparatively tiny black population, and which, as a result, is way behind the times in accommodating itself to the racial realities of modern America.

May 19, 2010, 3:24 PM EDT

"In a 7-2 ruling [on Monday], the Supreme Court expanded Congressional powers just a mite, by allowing the federal government to keep sexual predators in prison beyond their terms if they are deemed too dangerous to be released," U.S. News & World Report contributor Bonnie Erbe noted in a May 18 Thomas Jefferson Street blog post.

The PBS "To the Contrary" host later snarked that:

[T]he two dissenters were arguably the most conservative on a majority conservative court: Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. One would think that law and order conservatives would be more concerned about keeping sexual predators away from the public than about a very minor expansion of federal powers. Apparently not.

Of course that's a patently unfair cheap shot and Erbe knows it. Thomas's dissent in U.S. v. Comstock (scroll to page 36 at this link)-- published to the Supreme Court's Web site on May 17 -- clocks in at a brief 23 pages, easily readable for a journalist, especially one who graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law in 1987.

May 18, 2010, 5:28 PM EDT

Newsweek's Andrew Romano isn't really anti-Michelle Bachmann, he argues that he just sounds like one on Twitter.

In a May 17 "Web Exclusive," entitled "Tweet the Press," the Newsweek staffer explained to readers how an editor assigned him to write a "Twitter profile" of the Minnesota Republican:

My editor had just stepped into my office to discuss a new assignment. The NEWSWEEK brass is interested in Twitter, he told me, but they're looking for an original way to cover it—which is where you come in.... "I'm thinking you should write a 'Twitter profile' of Michele Bachmann," he said, referring to the outspoken, ultraconservative Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who has accused Barack Obama of being "anti-American" and asked her supporters to "slit their wrists" and be "blood brothers" to defeat health-care reform. "Fly up there, follow her around, tweet as you go. Then we'll publish an annotated version of your Twitter feed in the magazine. Could be kind of fun."

Later in his piece, Romano noted the drawbacks and advantages of live-tweeting a politician's stump speeches, concluding that the format made him sound like "knee jerk Bachmann hater." He denied that, of course, arguing that Twitter made him more of a "color commentator" that was looking for "bite-sized" vignettes that could go "viral" (emphasis mine):

May 18, 2010, 1:38 PM EDT

"Memo from 2002 could complicate challenge of Arizona immigration law," lamented the Washington Post in a Web site headline today.

Staffer Jerry Markon explained in his 11-paragraph story -- which ran on page A17 in the print edition* -- that the Obama/Holder Department of Justice (DOJ) has not rescinded a Bush administration memo that "concluded that state police officers have 'inherent power' to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law."

Although the memo is not legally binding, it does "carry great weight within the executive branch" and is considered "to be the Justice Department's official position" on the issue. 

But while this certainly is a complication to any move by the Holder DOJ to file a lawsuit in federal court to toss out the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law as unconstitutional, it equally provides ammo to Arizona lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who can point to the memo as evidence that they acted well within constitutional bounds.

Of course, it doesn't fit the liberal media's favored storyline if the Post had placed this story on page A1 and headlined it, "Arizona immigration law may fall in line with DOJ  memo."

May 16, 2010, 6:38 PM EDT

"Palin pushes abortion foes to form 'conservative, feminist identity,'" reads the headline to a page A16 Amy Gardner story in Saturday's Washington Post.

While the 10-paragraph article in itself didn't raise any bias alarm bells, I was disappointed but hardly surprised that the Post buried the story on the last page of its A-section.

Gardner's article focused on how Palin, "[s]peaking to a breakfast gathering of the Susan B. Anthony List in downtown Washington on Friday" observed that liberal pro-choice feminists are hypocrites for on the one hand insisting that women can hold fulfilling careers while being mothers but at the same time those same feminists hold out abortion for young women who might feel their unwanted pregnancies are an inconvenience obstacle to career or educational goals. 

That observation led Post staffer Jonathan Capehart, no Palin acolyte he, to concede Palin makes a "very interesting point":

May 13, 2010, 5:01 PM EDT
Republicans are likely to go with Tampa, Florida, as the venue for their 2012 presidential nominating convention in part because evangelicals hate Mormons. That's the gospel truth, at least according to Chris Matthews, who yesterday went on a loopy rant that was pure bluster and completely unsubstantiated in its assertions.

[MP3 audio available here; click play on the embedded video at right for video]

Matthews informed viewers that an RNC selection committee had submitted its recommendation of Tampa -- the RNC still has to give its formal approval -- over other finalists Phoenix, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The "Hardball" host than gave his theory behind why the latter two cities were rejected, failing, of course, to cite any sources nor to add the caveat that this was purely his own speculation.

Here's the relevant transcript:

May 13, 2010, 11:45 AM EDT

Yesterday the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a poll finding "Broad Approval For New Arizona Immigration Law."

While Republicans were the most supportive, a full 45 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents polled supported the law. When broken down to the particulars of the bill, there was even broader support. For example, 65 percent of Democrats and and 73 percent of independents favored "requiring people to produce documents verifying legal status," the portion of the bill that has been derided as allowing the police to demand, "your papers please!"

These poll numbers are absolutely astounding, especially considering the media's non-stop campaign to denounce the law and paint it in an unfavorable light. Yet true to form, the media continue to downplay the results. A search this morning of the Web pages for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today found no links to articles about the poll numbers.

May 12, 2010, 1:01 PM EDT

The mainstream media often have little use for religious folks, except, of course, when they sing from the same hymnal on an issue dear to liberals.

We've seen it before with how the media bash the Catholic Church as behind the times when compared to its American laity who are decidedly less conservative on sexual mores, abortion, and women or married persons in the priesthood. Yet when Catholic bishops come out against say the Arizona anti-immigration law, the media all but stand and cheer the bishops for trying to lead their flock in opposition.

The same is true of how the media treat evangelical Protestants. Witness this item from Newsweek's Arian Campo-Flores in a May 11 post at the magazine's The Gaggle blog:

May 10, 2010, 6:39 PM EDT

Chris Matthews is stuck in the 1970s, it seems, and I'm not  talking about his pop culture references.

Talking with CNBC's Jim Cramer on the May 6 "Hardball" about the Greek fiscal crisis, everyone's favorite MSNBCer blamed "right-wing" dictators from the Cold War era for financial troubles in Greece, Portugal, and Spain [MP3 audio available here]:

I'm a political guy, you're a money guy. Let's crosswalk this thing. It seems to me that you and I grew up with the fact there were dictatorships in Europe. They were in the Iberian peninsula and in Greece. You had Franco, who overstayed the Second World War a bit, by about two generations. You had Salazar in Portugal, and of course you had the Greek colonels.

 

The right-wing governments in Europe seem to be the ones that are most precarious right now: Greece, Portugal, Spain.

 

What's the connection? Is this a complete coincidence, or is it old-line right-wing politics that never quite stabilized into serious social democratic countries? What happened?

 

May 10, 2010, 5:20 PM EDT

President Barack Obama's second nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, is drawing fire from both liberals and conservatives to such an extent that her challenge in the confirmation hearings "will be to show that while she may hail from Harvard, she has the heart of an empathetic, all-American patriot."

At least that's Stuart Taylor Jr.'s take in a May 10 Newsweek "Web exclusive" that garnered prominent real estate on the magazine's Web site today (see screencap above at right).

Taylor presented Kagan more as a technocratic "establishmentarian" than an ideologue or partisan, despite her current and former affiliations with the Obama and Clinton administrations respectively:

May 6, 2010, 4:14 PM EDT
"Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not his own facts," Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited as having once said. MSNBC's Chris Matthews would do well to heed the counsel of the late liberal New York senator.

The "Hardball" host yesterday smeared former Bush FEMA Director Michael Brown as having this kooky notion that President Obama approved of offshore drilling in March only because he knew the BP oil rig disaster would happen.

But as the video embedded at right shows, this is Matthews's own warped misunderstanding of Brown's argument about how the Obama administration is poised to take advantage of a disaster for political ends. [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]

Matthews is certainly entitled to disagree with Brown's assessment about the Obama administration's motives behind its slow response to the BP oil spill, but not to lie to viewers about Brown's argument.

Below the page break you'll find a transcript excerpt:

May 5, 2010, 5:40 PM EDT

"[F]or all its satanic fanfare and heretical rejiggering, 'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ' is -- God forbid -- kind of inspiring," Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles proclaimed in today's review of the latest novel by avowed atheist Philip Pullman.

Charles began by suggesting that Pullman's publication was a veritable act of courage -- "if you fiddle with Jesus, people begin collecting dry sticks" the book review quipped. That may have gotten chuckles in the newsroom, but it's not all that amusing when you consider that it's radical Muslims, not devout Catholics or evangelical Protestants, who have threatened edgy taboo-shattering atheists like the creators of South Park.

Of course, attacking orthodox Christianity is always in season among the secular literary elite as well as their friends in the mainstream media. Charles himself cheered on Pullman's fictional take on Christ by equating it somewhat agreeably with the strain of liberal Christianity that has for centuries attacked such central elements of orthodoxy as Jesus's divinity and virgin birth, his miraculous earthly ministry, and his bodily resurrection from the tomb:

May 5, 2010, 3:03 PM EDT

"Tea party groups battling allegations of racism," reads a May 5 page A3 Washington Post print headline. The online version header softened the word choice a tiny bit, substituting the word "perceptions" in for "allegations."

The underlying poll data which prompted the story tells us more about the Post's prism through which it views the Tea Parties than how the public at large does.

After three paragraphs pounding readers with the meme that "the [Tea Party] movement is struggling to overcome accusations of racism," the Post's Amy Gardner and Krissah Thompson quickly dispatched with the fact that most Americans see Tea Parties fueld by distrust of big government and opposition to the Obama/congressional Democratic agenda before highlighting how a minority of poll respondents think race is a motivating factor:

In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most Americans see the movement as motivated by distrust of government, opposition to the policies of Obama and the Democratic Party, and broad concern about the economy. But nearly three in 10 see racial prejudice as underlying the tea party. 

Of course, in the very next paragraph we learn that:

May 5, 2010, 1:14 PM EDT

"NY car bomb suspect cooperates, but motive mystery," an AOL News headline (see screencap at right) for an AP story published this morning.

Really?! 

Of course five paragraphs into the article, AP writers Tom Hays and John Christoffersen quote Attorney General Holder as saying:

Based on what we know so far, it is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country...

Killing a large number of innocent civilians at once in a major American metropolis sounds like a motive in and of itself. It certainly was the motive for other radical Islamic terrorist operations, namely the 9/11 attacks.

May 5, 2010, 12:13 PM EDT

Apparently all those loyal subscribers from dentist offices all over the fruited plain just isn't cutting it anymore.

Andrew Vanacore of the Associated Press has the story:

NEW YORK—The Washington Post Co. is putting Newsweek up for sale in hopes that another owner can figure out how to stem losses at the 77-year-old weekly magazine.

While magazines in general have struggled with steep declines in advertising revenue because of the recession, news magazines such as Newsweek face the added pressures from up-to-the-second online news. Once handy digests of the week's events, they have been assailed by competitors on the Web that pump out a constant stream of news and commentary.