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 11, 2010, 4:24 PM EST

Is it "crossing the line" to ban salt from use in restaurant kitchens? That's what MSNBC's Tamron Hall asked of her viewers shortly before 3 p.m. on March 11.

To discuss the issue, she interviewed New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D) on his proposed legislation calling for a ban of salt use in Empire State restaurant kitchens. Each violation would carry a $1,000 fine.

Hall failed to balance out Ortiz by giving equal time for an opponent of the proposed legislation, although she did ask Ortiz, "What about the businesses that would suffer under this rule of no salt?"

In answer to Hall's question, Ortiz erroneously insisted that his legislation would further consumer choice, when in fact his bill is an outright ban that doesn't countenance customer preference, declaring in no uncertain terms that:

March 10, 2010, 6:11 PM EST
Leading off his "Political Sideshow" segment halfway through the March 10 "Hardball," MSNBC's Chris Matthews mocked freshman Sen. Scott Brown (D-Mass.) for his reported book deal [audio available here]:

We learned today that Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, who's been a senator for just 35 days, has a book deal! According to the Wall Street Journal, Brown's expected to write about his upbringing, his early career, and how he beat Martha Coakley to win his Senate seat.

Maybe he could call it, "It's Not About the Truck."  Just a thought, but, didn't people used to write their memoirs after their careers? This guy's been in office, what, a month?

Of course, this comes almost two years to the day after Matthews effusively praised Barack Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father" -- originally published in 1995 when Obama was gearing up to run for the Illinois State Senate -- on the March 13, 2008 "Hardball":

March 10, 2010, 4:18 PM EST

The sour economy has forced many Americans to tighten belts, and everyday Americans expect the same from their government. But that's practically unconscionable to the Washington Post as witnessed by its March 10 article, "Va.budget plan would shrink general spending to 2006 levels."*

Here's how Post staffers Rosalind Helderman and Fredrick Kunkle launched into their lament of the pending budget cutbacks:

RICHMOND -- Virginia will do less for its residents, and expect local governments and private charities to do more, under a new state budget likely to have an impact for years to come. 

With Virginia facing what lawmakers say is the grimmest financial picture in memory, the House of Delegates and Senate adopted budgets last week that would shrink general spending to about $15 billion, or no more than was spent four years ago. In other words, Virginia would spend about the same amount on services as it did when there were 100,000 fewer residents and many fewer were in economic distress. 

What followed was a typical laundry list of scenarios the writers insisted "could" happen, including "[c]riminal defendants who cannot afford an attorney appear[ing] in court without one." Of course, seeing as the Constitution requires that indigent defendants be provided a public defender, it's quite odd for the Post to conclude any judge "could" let a trial proceed with a defendant unrepresented for lack of counsel. At any rate, National Review's Kevin Williamson has an excellent takedown of the article and its numerous liberal assumptions, which I've excerpted below (emphases mine):

March 9, 2010, 5:44 PM EST

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) has caused students across the Old Dominion to "rise up for gay rights,"* reporters Daniel de Vise and Rosalind Helderman insisted on the March 9 Metro section front page of the Washington Post.

Helderman and de Vise failed to consider the liberal leanings of the protesters, tagging the demonstrators in the lead paragraph as mere "campus activists" who are steamed over the state AG's "letter advising public universities to retreat from their policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orienation." A few paragraphs later, Helderman and de Vise suggested that an "erosion in gay rights at state universities" would have detrimental effects on attracting and retaining students and faculty.

The problem is, Cuccinelli's legal opinion does not mandate a "retreat" from discrimination, he just noted that under Virginia law, any change in non-discrimination policy wording must be authorized by legislation.

Counseled Cuccinelli:

March 9, 2010, 11:47 AM EST
Has Chris Matthews's brain been exiled to the Phantom Zone?

The "Hardball" host has a penchant for making loopy cinematic references, such as the time he compared Rush Limbaugh to the villain in the James Bond film "Live and Let Die."

Well, yesterday the MSNBC host made some odd, labored metaphor that found the former vice president being compared to Jor-El, the biological father of Superman (audio here; transcript via NB's Geoffrey Dickens):

March 5, 2010, 6:05 PM EST
The September 11 attacks apparently were merely "criminal acts of terrorism" to the mind of MSNBC host Chris Matthews. They were not acts of war. 

What's more, according to the "Hardball" host, "acts of war are not bad in themselves." [audio available here]

"We never said that in our country's history," Chris Matthews insisted on the March 5 "Hardball" program.

"Well, of course acts of war are bad, if they're committed against innocent American civilians," Republican strategist Ron Christie responded.

Matthews refused to concede the point, however: "That's right, that's called a criminal act of terrorism."

March 5, 2010, 12:54 PM EST

Having closely examined this week's slanted coverage by the Washington Post of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington's decision to end spousal health care benefits, GetReligion.org's Mollie Z. Hemingway zeroed in on the heart of the media bias present in today's piece, "Catholic Charities' health-plan change called 'devastating'"*, which begins with a former Catholic Charities officer lamenting the organization's decision to not grant health insurance to spouses of future employees in order to avoid having to cover same-sex couples married in the District of Columbia:

The narrative on this story could be framed as one where the Catholic Church is doing everything in its power to be able to continue serving the poor here in DC against an oppressive government crackdown on religious freedom — even changing its benefits structure so that it won’t be in violation of church teaching. Instead, it’s basically framed as a choice that the Archbishop decided to make so as to mess with gays. The power to frame a story is huge and largely unseen by readers.

Hemingway did an excellent job breaking down the coverage. You can read the whole post here.

March 4, 2010, 5:36 PM EST

Nancy Pelosi is her own worst enemy and Time's Amy Sullivan hopes to get that message across in her March 4 Swampland blog post, "Is This An Abortion Whip Count?"

Sullivan did some number crunching and found that, due to concerns about a lack of a restriction on abortion spending in the Senate bill, Pelosi may end up being a few votes shy of the threshold to pass the legislation.

Sullivan's advice to the Speaker? She just needs to moderate her testy tone to dupe enough pro-life Democrats to voting for a bill that lacks the Stupak amendment which was passed in the House version of the bill (emphasis mine):

March 4, 2010, 11:18 AM EST

On Monday, I noted how the Washington Post editorialized against repeal of Virginia's 1993 one-handgun-per-month law. The Post reasoned in its top March 1 editorial that without the law "straw purchasers" could "serve as front men for criminals who come to the state to buy guns in large quantities."

But today, in a Metro section front page story, Post reporter Fredrick Kunkle noted that experts in law enforcement and academia doubt there's a solid case ground in empirical data for that notion (emphasis mine):

March 3, 2010, 3:36 PM EST

"As the House prepares for its final push on health care, there are Democratic members, particularly those from conservative districts, who are facing a hard truth: This is the kind of vote that can end a career," Time magazine's Karen Tumulty lamented in a March 3 Swampland blog post entitled "When A Hard Vote Ends A Political Career."

Eh, suck it up, the veteran journalist practically counseled House Democrats wary of voting for the Democratic health care legislation, after all, there is life after politics. Just look at Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinski, who lost her seat in the 1994 midterm election which swept Republicans into control of Congress.

Margolies-Mezvinski doomed herself with a vote to hike taxes, Tumulty noted, but brought readers up to speed on the former congresswoman's life after politics to lay out the case that Mezvinski thinks her vote was worth it in the long run.

Tumulty concluded with a hint that Democrats in endangered seats need to consider leaving a "legacy" by passing ObamaCare (emphasis mine):

March 3, 2010, 11:57 AM EST

Some faulty memes get repeated so often they get burned in the media's collective memory as fact, even though they are myth. Perhaps the most notable example of that in 2009 was the myth that the New York 23rd congressional district had been solidly Republican since the Civil War until Doug Hoffman's third-party challenge of the liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava ensured a Democrat's victory in a special election. We've a lot of 2010 left to go, but perhaps history will record the greatest political myth of this year as Jim Bunning's "filibuster" that was anything but.

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey took on the media's Bunning filibuster meme yesterday, noting that even inside-the-Beltway publications like Roll Call tagged Bunning's objection to unanimous consent a filibuster even though it "should know better" (emphasis mine):

This is not a filibuster, which is a specific procedure in which Senators force debate to continue indefinitely as a means to block a final vote, denying “cloture” to the majority party.  Alternatively, and now somewhat archaically, it also describes an effort by one Senator to just continue talking to stall action.  Bunning is using another mechanism altogether, one that won’t block a final vote, although it will delay it:

March 2, 2010, 4:59 PM EST

Headlines can be an excellent window into the biases, albeit sometimes subtle, of editors. An AP story about a gun rights case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the Windy City's handgun ban before the Supreme Court today is one such example.

"High court looks at reach of Second Amendment" reads the headline the Associated Press assigned its story by Mark Sherman.

The AP's headline is pretty straightforward and unbiased. As Sherman reported in his story, the controversy in question is whether the ruling in Heller extends to the states or if the ruling only forbids the federal and D.C. governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.

Yet at least two media outlets picking up on Sherman's story opted for more loaded headlines.

March 2, 2010, 4:15 PM EST

"Jim Bunning is doing all of us a favor," Time's Joe Klein tells his Swampland blog readers in a post published last night.

Gee, Joe, is that because his stand is exposing the hypocrisy of Democrats who often preach the virtue of pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budget rules? 

Of course not. Instead, Klein sees a potential anti-GOP blowback as Republicans show themselves to be positively out of touch with the times, even indecent "reactionary" anti-government radicals:

March 2, 2010, 12:02 PM EST

"Wait, What? Obama Still Smokes?!"

That was the reaction of Newsweek's Sarah Ball to Navy physician Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman noting ongoing "smoking cessation efforts" by President Obama in a publicly-released memo regarding the results of Sunday's physical exam of the commander-in-chief.

After going over a few takes from other media outlets about the story, Ball shared with readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog her favorite headline:

But Huff Po's Andy Borowitz wins the Headline Award: OBAMA TO GOP: I WILL QUIT SMOKING IF YOU WILL QUIT BEING DICKS. 

March 1, 2010, 12:41 PM EST

Print newspapers are an ecological nightmare, what with the trees felled to make them, the fossil fuels burned to print and then deliver them, and the tons of unrecycled paper that millions of Americans toss into the garbage instead of a recycling bin.

As such, do newspapers really need to print everyday? Isn't once a week, say Sunday, the most popular day for newspaper reading, enough for most people? Surely such a law wouldn't unduly infringe on the freedom of the press, while doing wonders to save the environment. Indeed, making sure newspapers can print only once a week, or better yet, once a month, may actually save lives!

Of course I'm being facetious, and if such a law were ever passed, I'd loudly join in the chorus coming from the nation's print newspapers that the law was misguided and unconstitutional. 

Yet when it comes to gun rights, the Washington Post  is of the opinion that rationing law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights is wholly legitimate.

February 28, 2010, 9:30 PM EST

The Washington Post issued a correction on Saturday in which it apologized for a mischaracterization of the House Republican Whip's use of a printout of the Senate-passed health care bill:

In a Feb. 26 editorial, we said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "posturing" during the Thursday health-care summit by stacking the voluminous Senate bill before him. Mr. Cantor says that he had the bill with him, well-tabbed, not for show but so that Republicans could respond if specific provisions of the bill came up for discussion. That makes sense, and we should not have characterized his purpose as we did. 

What the Post didn't tell readers is that it was just mimicking President Barack Obama. As the Associated Press reported Thursday in a story available at washingtonpost.com and headlined "Obama scolds Rep. Cantor at summit for paper prop":

February 26, 2010, 5:53 PM EST

Poor Joe Klein. The Time magazine writer missed yesterday's epic health care lecturefest summit. I can't blame him. Olympic curling is much more fascinating.

Anyway, he's catching up and he's come to the conclusion that Professor Obama totally schooled the GOP.

Why? Because the president talked a lot but observers found the event boring, ergo proving both Obama's brilliance and the dimwittedness and poor statesmanship of the GOP opposition.

Yes, that really is the gist of his argument from a February 26 Swampland blog (emphasis mine):

February 26, 2010, 12:00 PM EST

Washington Post's Dan Zak devoted a Style section front page feature today to liberals who are "[b]rewing a progressive alternative to the Tea Party."*

But as one reads Zak's article, it becomes clear the nascent "Coffee Party" movement is a decaf brew of mostly liberals whining about how the rabble are roused by the Tea Parties while they, the sophisticates "have real political dialogue with substance and compassion":

Furious at the tempest over the Tea Party -- the scattershot citizen uprising against big government and wild spending -- Annabel Park did what any American does when she feels her voice has been drowned out: She squeezed her anger into a Facebook status update.

let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.

February 25, 2010, 4:53 PM EST
Taking a break from ongoing coverage of today's Blair House health care summit around 3:15 p.m. EST today, Fox News Channel's Shep Smith scolded Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and congressional Republicans for impeding passage of the Democratic health care agenda (video embedded at right; audio available here):

 

Why do Republicans want to throw this thing out and start over, senator? Why do they want to do that? Nobody buys that!

[...]

Can't we just say, "Look, we [sic] got to do something in this country. This is going to bankrupt us!" And you people up there who are supposed to be representing us are making it perfectly clear, you are going to sit in your corners with your own talking points and we're going to lose! We're going to get nothing. And it's clear we're not.

So when this is over, the president will be able to say, "I tried, we couldn't get anything done, here comes reconciliation." Fifty-one votes, and away we go. Then we got a real mess on our hands, and everybody is just mad at everybody else as the country falls apart. It just doesn't seem fair!

Thune calmly retorted, without missing a beat:

February 23, 2010, 1:45 PM EST

Updated below (Feb. 24)

The Washington Post was curiously silent about the ideological and/or partisan bent of blogs that prompted its coverage of a controversial statement made last Thursday by Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall (R), who suggested, the Post reports, "that women who have abortions risk having later children with birth defects as a punishment from God."

Kunkle noted that Marshall couched his controversial comments in reference to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University that "was published in 2008 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and suggested that there is a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight in children born to women who have had an abortion."

"Few seized on the remarks at the time Marshall made them," the Post's Fredrick Kunkle noted in his page B2 February 23 story, "[b]ut outrage built on social networking sites and political blogs after some Virginia newspapers picked up the story from Capital News Service, a program at VCU's School of Mass Communications."

But which blogs, exactly? It's not a stretch to imagine it was mostly left-wing or Democratic blogs seeking to hype a controversy to make Virginia Republicans -- who control the House of Delegates -- look bad, particularly in an election year in which the Democratic majority in the state senate is in jeopardy.

Yet Kunkle failed to inform readers which blogs tipped him off to the story and what political axes they have to grind.