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 28, 2010, 5:42 PM EDT

"The last day of school shouldn't mean last call for lunch."

That's how CBS's Katie Couric melodramatically concluded her June 25 "Notebook" item on her CBSNews.com Couric & Co. blog.

The "Evening News" anchor pointed to a report by the liberal Center for American Progress -- without, of course, noting the group's leftward bent -- that found "that nearly 20 million children get free or reduced-price lunch at school. But only one in six of them will receive subsidized meals this summer."

Couric concluded from this that "[n]early one in four children is at risk for hunger" over the summer and called "essential" a bill before Congress to "improve access to summer meals."

Of course nowhere in her Notebook item did Couric weigh whether this might be a matter better left to state and local governments -- especially when the federal government is drowning in red ink -- or better yet, to parents themselves.

June 28, 2010, 4:11 PM EDT

Reacting to colleague Alex Altman's brief, just-the-facts-styled Swampland blog post "SCOTUS Solidifies Gun Rights," Time's Michael Scherer responded a few hours later with the following post:

June 28, 2010, 12:26 PM EDT

"Supreme Court extends gun rights" a headline on the Web site for the Chicago Tribune erroneously claims today.

The link on the page brought readers to a story entitled "Supreme Court extends gun rights in Chicago case." Here's the opening paragraph:

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago's ban today and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe the "right to keep and bear arms."

But that language suggests that the Court invented a right out of whole cloth rather than grounded its decision in the Constitution itself. In truth, what the Supreme Court found in McDonald v. City of Chicago was that the 2nd Amendment's guarantee of the individual's right to firearm ownership is incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause.

"The right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an even handed manner," Justice Alito wrote for the Court. 

June 25, 2010, 6:40 PM EDT
"Being a suicide bomber is the new political role model," Chris Matthews told his Friday "Hardball" audience. "Just kill everything, destroy everything, blow it up, nothing gets done. You're dead, but who cares?" he added, referring to conservative Republicans running against Democrats in the 2010 midterms.

The comment came at the end of a segment featuring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Politico's Jim VandeHei. Matthews had complained to the latter that the congressional minority Republicans were intent not merely on tinkering around the edges of the majority Democrats' policy proposals but on "destroy[ing] the United States government every time it gets up in the morning" all to the applause of "its cheering section back home say[ing] good work, keep trying to destroy the government."

[MP3 audio available here; WMV video available here]

June 24, 2010, 5:40 PM EDT

It seems no section of the newspaper is free of bias and/or political cheap shots.

Take today's Local Living section of the Washington Post, whose "on gardening" feature writer Adrian Higgins blasted "Sarah Palin's... wrong to the landscape"* in the form of the 14-foot-tall wooden fence she erected between her Wasilla, Alaska, property and an adjacent lot rented by author Joe McGinniss:

Do bad neighbors make bad fences? I've seen a few fences in my time, but none quite as defiantly ugly as the one now shielding Sarah Palin and her family from what she suggests are the prying eyes of her new neighbor, an author named Joe McGinniss. 

[...]

June 23, 2010, 5:07 PM EDT

Between the ongoing Gulf oil spill and the McChrystal row, this story is bound to get put on the back burner, but it still deserves attention by the broadcast and cable news media.

Yesterday I wrote about the Washington Post burying its story on House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer saying that congressional Democrats were not wedded to President Obama's 2008 campaign pledge to not raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 per year.

Asked about those remarks at yesterday's White House press briefing, Robert Gibbs said he had not seen the comments and would "be happy to look at and try to get a response after this [briefing]."

Hours later, The Hill newspaper's Alexander Bolton filed a story that noted it's not just Hoyer who's staking out this position:

June 22, 2010, 1:18 PM EDT

In a recent interview, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the Bush tax cuts that affect the middle class should not be considered "totally sacrosanct."

The number two Democrat in the House of Representatives "acknowledg[ed] that it would be difficult to reduce long-term deficits without breaking President Obama's pledge to protect families earning less than $250,000 a year," reported Lori Montgomery in the June 22 Washington Post.

That certainly sounds worthy of front-page placement, especially in the midst of a contentious midterm election year, but Post editors instead parked the 9-paragraph story below the fold on page A13 of the print edition and gave it a snoozer of a headline: "Hoyer: Tax cuts need to be examined."

"Middle-class benefit may not be affordable long-term, he says," the subheader dryly noted.

June 22, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

Liberals in the media frequently paint conservatives and Tea Party activists as pushing the GOP too far to the right to be electable in general elections. But the same complaint isn't repeated on an endless loop when it comes to leftist activists challenging more centrist Democratic incumbents in primary contests.

In fact, in some of those occasions, the media find a way to cast aspersions on Republicans.

Take, for instance, a June 22 story on Newsweek.com, the headline for which posed the question, "Will Utah Republicans Play Dirty Today?" Writer McKay Coppins explained how one Republican state lawmaker had suggested that the party faithful in the state's 2nd Congressional District should take advantage of the Democrats' open primary system to cast votes for Claudia Wright, a liberal insurgent challenging Rep. Jim Matheson (D), rather than weighing in on the GOP primary contest.

Although he noted that historically such tactical voting hasn't been successful and that state Republican officials have officially "denounced the plan," Coppins explained that the local media have become fixated on the notion and at least one radio host has described the crossover voting idea as "sleazy":

June 18, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

How committed is the Washington Post to its crusade to see Congress abridge free speech under the guise of "campaign finance reform"? So much that it's willing to be a political bedfellow with the National Rifle Association, a group it detests for its persistent advocacy of Americans' Second Amendment liberties.

In a June 17 editorial, the Post voiced its support behind a bill that Democrats and some liberal Republicans have been cobbling together since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold bill earlier this year. But the bill itself contains language that was tailor-made to carve out an exemption for the National Rifle Association. That exemption was included, it seems, to get the NRA to back down from opposing the bill and hence to prevent it from throwing the ire of its grassroots backers into the mix.

While there are both leftists and conservatives angry about this unholy alliance for wildly different reasons, the Post defended its support of the bill with its typical sanctimonious language about battling "shadowy" interests:

June 17, 2010, 5:12 PM EDT
In a satellite interview with Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) held shortly before 1 p.m. EDT today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer criticized Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for denouncing the president for pushing BP to agree to a $20-billion escrow account for oil spill damages as a "shakedown":

So, there's Joe Barton calling the $20 billion in escrow a shakedown, and as you point out, there are people in your district who have lost their livelihoods! They wonder how they can feed their families!

But yesterday, Brewer's MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz used similar language to voice his giddy approval of President Obama's maneuvering :

June 16, 2010, 11:26 AM EDT

"Obama Chickens Out on Energy," a disgusted Ben Adler argued to Newsweek's The Gaggle blog readers this morning.

Adler's chief complaint with last night's Oval Office address: Obama didn't call for massive tax hikes to push Americans to make more politically correct spending choices.

The Newsweek writer -- formerly a self-styled "propagandist" for the liberal Center for American Progress -- avoided the T-word until his last paragraph, but he made abundantly clear that he felt that a) American stupidity and short-sightedness was threatening to literally drown Manhattan in rising sea levels and b) Obama was not doing enough to make government force people to make better choices with their own money (emphases mine):

June 15, 2010, 3:06 PM EDT

"You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting." That's how the biblical prophet Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall that heralded the imminent demise of the Babylonian Empire.

It could also sum up journalist Sarah Pulliam Bailey's take on Lisa Miller's "Saint Sarah" piece in Newsweek (emphases mine):

Journalists have long been puzzled over Sarah Palin’s popularity. In November, Newsweek took a stab at the trend with its provocative cover of Palin in running clothes: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah Palin: How Sarah Palin Hurts the GOP And the Country.”

[...]

Lisa Miller’s thesis is compelling if it is true, but journalists usually rely on hard facts, polls, maybe interviews with political scientists to prove their points. Unfortunately, Miller’s article contains none of these to support her theory that Palin is somehow the new leader of the Christian Right. Instead, she strings together a bunch of anecdotes and quotes to prove what she thinks is happening. 

Pulliam Bailey devoted most of her June 14 Get Religion blog post to fisking Miller's argument. Here's just a sample (emphases are the author's):

June 14, 2010, 12:14 PM EDT

On the eve of the one year anniversary of the most recent Iranian presidential election, the Web site for The New Republic gave space to Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) to lament the Obama administration's feckless response to the corrupt Iranian regime's crackdown on protesters and its continued quest for nuclear weapons and terrorist sponsorship under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In response two days later, Time's Joe Klein resorted to his typical petulant bluster to berate the generally liberal magazine and divert attention from the real issue of Obama's leadership:

The New Republic perplexes me. It has some of the best and smartest writing around. And then it allows John McCain, whose lack of knowledge about Iran is encyclopedic, to hold forth in its pages.

Klein's June 13 Swampland blog post at Time.com focused on one brief excerpt of McCain's item, launching into how he felt McCain was not nuanced enough and hence lacks credibility to address the issue:

June 10, 2010, 4:37 PM EDT

Borrowing a line from one of her Harvard colleagues, the Washington Post entitled its June 10 front-page profile of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, "Her work is her life is her work."*

But the 60-paragraph story by staff writers Ann Gerhart and Philip Rucker shed barely any light on the judicial philosophy that Kagan's life work demonstrates. Instead, Gerhart and Rucker presented a gauzy profile that rehashed the usual trivia -- Kagan loves poker and the opera -- while painting Kagan as a workaholic who still has time to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on to friends in distress:

She has arrived at the age of 50 in a blaze of accomplishment. But her achievements can obscure how relatively narrow her world has been. 

June 9, 2010, 2:47 PM EDT

In what must to the far-left seem like adding insult to injury, Fox News could end up with  Helen Thomas's vacated press briefing room seat.

What's more, rival network CNN's senior White House correspondent would be perfectly okay with it reports the Huffington Post:

At least one competitor is backing Fox News for the newly vacated front-row seat in the White House briefing room: CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry.

Henry, who is on the White House Correspondents Association board, told the Wall Street Journal that he thinks Fox News should get Helen Thomas's seat now that she has retired.

"When CNN bid for the front row in 2007, Fox could have challenged it and had a knock-down, drag-out fight like the one we might have this time," Henry said. "But they did the gentlemanly thing and said CNN had more seniority. I've got to honor that commitment."

June 9, 2010, 1:19 PM EDT

In his June 9 "case study" feature for Time.com, Adam Cohen, formerly of the New York Times editorial board and Time magazine, tackled the question "Are Liberal Judges Really 'Judicial Activists'?"

Cohen's short answer: yes, but so are conservative judges, and it's the conservatives on the Supreme Court that have been on an activist kick lately.

To bolster his argument, Cohen complained that judges must of necessity make judgment calls about vague elements of U.S. law and the Constitution.

You know, vague stuff like, wait for it, the First Amendment (emphases mine):

June 8, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

As other media outlets have given Helen Thomas the kid glove treatment in light of her "trailblazing" career, media consumers may be forgiven for assuming that Helen Thomas's anti-Israel, arguably anti-Semitic comments were an aberration in an otherwise unblemished career of assertive but fair journalism.

To his credit, Washington Post's media reporter Howard Kurtz made note of other incidents, such as the time Thomas blamed Israel for inspiring "99 percent" of terrorism and the time in 2002 when she exclaimed "Thank God for Hezbollah," the Iran-backed terror group that murdered 241 U.S. servicement in 1983 and has plagued Israel for decades.

As the excerpt below shows, it's not just conservatives who have had complaints about Thomas (emphases mine):

June 7, 2010, 5:59 PM EDT

Well that didn't take long. The folks at the left-wing MoveOn.org are practically in mourning over Helen Thomas's "retirement."

Just a few hours after news broke that Hearst columnist Helen Thomas is calling it quits after a viral video of her anti-Semitic comments led to widespead condemnation of the White House press corps dean.

Sam Stein of the Huffington Post has the story:

The abrupt retirement of Helen Thomas from her perch as the ranking member of the White House press corps was essentially accepted as a fait accompli by supporters and detractors alike after her controversial remarks urging Jews to leave Israel surfaced.

Indeed, if there was any defense made of Thomas's comments, it wasn't done persuasively or at an influential level. But that didn't stop the progressive community -- many hearing about her retirement while at the Campaign for America's Future conference in D.C. -- from collectively fretting on Monday about what the loss of her voice bodes for the day-to-day interaction between the White House and the Fourth Estate.

Her absence will be felt "significantly," said Ilyse Hogue, Communications Director of Moveon.org. "The burden will fall on the rest of the press corps to make sure the administration feels the need to be transparent about its plans to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan."

June 7, 2010, 12:03 PM EDT

Time's Joe Klein, no fan of the present Israeli government he, has weighed in on Helen Thomas's now infamous "get the hell out of Palestine" comments.

Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein denounced the Hearst columnist's comments as "odious," but stopped short of demanding her ouster from the White House press briefing room. Instead, Klein urged in his June 6 post that Thomas should forego her front row seat and get pushed towards the back of the room:

[I]t's not unprecedented for journalists with odious views to have access to the press room. What is unprecedented is for such a journalist to have a front-row center seat. Thomas should no longer have that privilege. The front row should be occupied by working reporters, not columnists. The WHCA should sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats. This would accurately reflect her current status as a journalist while preserving her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants.

Of course Thomas has a First Amendment right to be obnoxious, but that doesn't mean she has a constitutional right to a slot in the press briefing room. Perhaps Klein thinks his is a reasonable middle ground for the WHCA to stake out, but there were plenty of reasons to boot Thomas from the front row long before her anti-Semitic ranting made for viral video.
June 4, 2010, 4:22 PM EDT

Nearly two months ago, atheist feminist and PBS "To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe insisted that the pro-life movement is essentially a church pew-packing conspiracy:

What is the religious right doing by campaigning against abortion? First and foremost, its efforts seem aimed at trying to keep church pews filled by bringing more and more poor people into the world.

She's still at it. In her June 4 Thomas Jefferson Street blog entry at USNews.com. Erbe lamented the results of a new survey about teens and sex: