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 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 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, 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 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 "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 Erbe lamented the results of a new survey about teens and sex:

June 4, 2010, 2:22 PM EDT
White House press corps dean Helen Thomas -- on the day that the White House hosted a Jewish Heritage Celebration, no less -- said that Jews who live in Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine&q
June 3, 2010, 3:27 PM EDT
"Don't you think you're jumping the gun a little bit? I mean, the show's not even on the air."

That's how MSNBC's Contessa Brewer opened her June 3 interview with Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who appeared via satellite to discuss his work with the newly-formed Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB) to get advertisers on Viacom's Comedy Central to publicly pledge to not support or underwrite a show currently in pre-production entitled "JC" for Jesus Christ. For full disclosure, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell is a founding member of CARB.

"Just playing devil's advocate here, because I am the daughter of a Baptist preacher, don't you think Jesus Christ is tough enough to withstand it?" Brewer prodded Lapin. After all, "he's a big guy," Brewer argued. [MP3 audio available for download here; WMV video for download here]

Given the irreverent and downright blasphemous treatment Jesus Christ and God have gotten at the hands of "South Park" and Sarah Silverman, Brewer later asked Lapin, in all seriousness, "What if this turns out to be more like a Sunday School lesson than the worst imaginings of you and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and on and on?"

Really, Contessa? Here's the reported premise of the show:

June 2, 2010, 3:39 PM EDT

Hell-bent to speed down its dead-end road to irrelevance, Newsweek's editors stubbornly cling to the self-delusion that their magazine is not a partisan rag. But any cursory look at the June 7 dead tree edition proves otherwise.

[No, I didn't get inspired to write this following a dentist's visit. Sadly, we still have a subscription here at the office.]

June 2, 2010, 1:19 PM EDT

Leave it to the liberals at Newsweek to find a way to whine when another terrorist gets his just deserts.

"Does Killing Terrorists Actually Prevent Terrorism?" Ben Adler's June 1 The Gaggle blog headline asked. With the death of al Qaeda's #3 leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid aka Sheik Saeed al-Masri, "[t]he U.S. has killed another terrorist, but there are more terrorist plots than ever," lamented the subheadline.

Adler went on to suggest that it may be time to start negotiating with al Qaeda and/or the Taliban rather than simply attempting to eradicate them:

June 1, 2010, 6:23 PM EDT
Calling your political opponents Nazis can get old after a while.

That's why one needs to mix it up, perhaps by suggesting that they're akin to the radical Islamic clerics that inspire terrorism.

Just ask MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

During the "Political Sideshow" segment of his June 1 program, the "Hardball" host compared Sarah Palin's Facebook page posting about author Joe McGinniss renting the house next door to a "fatwa" aimed at "rev[ving] up anger at the author" from amongst her "mob" of followers [MP3 audio available here]:

May 28, 2010, 12:08 PM EDT

Time's Michael Crowley, late of the liberal publication The New Republic, took to his new magazine's Swampland blog with a salutatory post yesterday. After the obligatory kind words about how excited he was to be on board "another great [journalistic] institution," Crowley laid out his case about why author Joe McGinniss was foolish for renting a house right next door to the Palin family's Wasilla residence.

He did take a few swipes at Palin in the process -- arguing Palin is on a mission to discredit journalists and this just bolsters her argument -- but Crowley's case is the polar opposite of Slate's Jack Shafer, who defiantly praised McGinniss's journalistic "a**holery." Here's the relevant excerpt from Crowley's May 27 post (emphases mine):

May 27, 2010, 11:57 AM EDT

Imagine if, in 2004, Karl Rove had offered then-Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) a cushy administration post if only he dropped his primary challenge of then-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, whom the Bush White House was backing for reelection.

Surely the media would merely smell "stupid politics" rather then the stench of corruption and complain that Democrats making hay of the matter were cynically making a federal case out of something that happens in Washington all the time.

Of course both you and I know that's the exact opposite of what would happen. But when it comes to Joe Sestak's alleged job offer by the Obama White House, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald is peeved at Republicans, practically telling them in his May 27 "Viewpoint" post at to move along:

May 26, 2010, 5:26 PM EDT

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is "missing the target when it comes to whose interests he's really looking out for" but "then again, that's nothing new for us, is it," MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan complained in the "Busted" segment of today's program.

Ratigan lamented that McDonnell stripped out the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) as an alternative organization that Old Dominion educators could select for gun safety instruction for elementary school students. As it stands now, the National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle" program is the only option public school teachers have under state law.

Perhaps Ratigan is unaware that the Eddie Eagle program "neither offers nor asks for any value judgment concerning firearms," it merely instructs children in four simple steps about what to do should they come across a gun: "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."

By contrast, the NCPC has ideologically-colored aims in some of its gun safety materials for grade schoolers. Take this lesson plan for fourth and fifth graders, for example (emphasis mine), which uses the assassinations of Lincoln, Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. as tokens to advance a loathing of guns themselves:

May 26, 2010, 3:06 PM EDT

"It's called legwork, it's called immersion journalism, and it doesn't look pretty. But it should come as a surprise to only naive newspaper readers that every day journalists treat the subjects of investigations the way [Joe] McGinniss is treating Palin,"  Slate's Jack Shafer argued in a May 26 post subheadlined, "In defense of a journalist's stalking of a politician."

Shafer wrote his post because, after all, he felt he had to in some way publicly "commend the writer for an act of journalistic a**holery —renting the house next door to the Palin family in Wasilla, Alaska."

Far from crossing any ethical lines, to Shafer, McGinniss's move "honors a long tradition of snooping" and is worthy of applause from hard-bitten gumshoe reporters everywhere:

May 24, 2010, 3:03 PM EDT

Shortly after noon today, during a story about actress Lindsay Lohan's latest legal woes, some footage of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) made it into the B-roll loop.

A case of some "Mean Girls" in the editing room, or just an innocent mix-up? I think it's the latter [h/t Tim Graham and Yahoo's Holly Bailey]: