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
September 1, 2010, 6:23 PM EDT

When you think of crimes against America, crimes so dangerous they strike out against the very existence of the country, what comes to mind?

Espionage, terrorism, and treason perhaps top the list. But what about not publicly declaring that Barack Obama is in fact not a Muslim?

Liberal Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger "Save the Republic from Palin" Ebert made a federal case out of the latter in a September 1 blog post entitled "Put up or shut up" (emphasis mine):

September 1, 2010, 10:24 AM EDT
On Saturday, NewsBusters sister site Eyeblast.tv sent contributing editor Joe Schoffstall to see what exactly Al Sharpton’s protest rally was all about. While there, he was able to get an interview with NAACP President Ben Jealous regarding his thoughts on Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally.

Jealous claimed that those at Restoring Honor wouldn’t applaud Dr. King's historic 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech.

Beck aired that Eyeblast video and promptly destroyed Jealous's argument by playing clips of the crowd enthusiastically cheering mentions of the late civil rights leader.

You can watch the relevant excerpt from the August 31 "Glenn Beck" show by clicking the play button on the embed above.

August 31, 2010, 3:13 PM EDT

Liberal Democratic strategists reading today's Washington Post are probably taking notes, preparing talking points for a future which may hold a Republican Congress in the cards.

"British women to bear budget pain" cried the page A6 headline. "Report says austerity plan mostly cuts into women's livelihoods," added the subheader for London-based Post staffer Anthony Faiola's  story.

Faiola noted that "[t]he Fawcett Society, a leading women's rights group here, filed an unprecedented complaint with the nation's high court this month, arguing that the government failed to consider the effect on women of its leaner 'emergency budget.'"

At no point did Faiola find a critic to allege that the social welfare system in Britain itself was "sexist" or at least that it victimizes poor Britons, particularly women, by creating a culture of dependency on the state.

August 31, 2010, 12:18 PM EDT

Secular leftists in the media don't often have use for religion, particularly Christianity, except, it seems, when biblical passages can be isolated out of context to bash religious conservatives over the head as wicked for opposing big government or for standing up for traditional moral values.

Enter Joe Klein, Christian theologian extraordinaire, who suggested in Time.com Swampland blog post yesterday that Jesus would make Fox News host Glenn Beck sweat it out a bit at the pearly gates:

If Jesus were around today, he might say that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a telecharlatan to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

In a follow-up blog post from today, Klein thanked a commenter for passing along a passage from the gospel according to St. Matthew wherein Jesus taught that "when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men."

"The noisy proclamation of religiosity is usually a sign of the exact opposite," Klein preached regarding the August 28 Beck rally.

August 30, 2010, 12:33 PM EDT

In an August 28 online column, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter ripped into Fox News and conservative Republican leaders for painting Barack Obama as a closet Muslim and potentially a foreign-born person illegible to hold the office of the presidency.

But while he tarred the Left's usual bogeymen with the specious charges, Alter failed to produce documented evidence of any instance in which any mainstream conservative Republican leader or Fox News talent specifically charged that President Obama is either a Muslim or was not born in the United States.

Instead the Newsweek veteran resorted to an all-too-typical refuge: insisting that conservative opinion leaders speak in some sort of "coded language" which apparently their followers understand instinctively and only enlightened liberals like Alter can see through as a cleverly-deployed Jedi mind trick:

August 27, 2010, 3:28 PM EDT

"Protesters use 'sharia' as a slur and rallying cry against Islam," reads the dismissive print edition headline for Michelle Boorstein's page A5 August 27 story. The Washington Post's online edition used different wording: "For critics of Islam, 'sharia' a loaded word."

Boorstein cited "controversial" conservative scholar Daniel Pipes warning that pro-sharia Muslims "want to implement sharia in every detail on everyone in a stringest way." For an opposing view, the Post religion writer also cited Imam Yahya Hendi, a Muslim chaplain for Georgetown University and "spokesman of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America," who argued that more moderate Muslims see sharia as more like a set of guidelines to guide personal and family life than a rigid code of law which must supplant secular governance.

Fair enough, yet Boorstein put her thumb on the scale by lamenting that "the word has become akin to a slur in some camps... an alarming development to many religious and political leaders."

August 26, 2010, 3:38 PM EDT

In today's Washington Post, Dan Balz argues that the "Florida Senate race starts without a clear favorite." While that may be true in some sense, recent polling data has some favorable signs for conservative Republican candidate Marco Rubio.

Yet nowhere in his 20-paragraph story did Balz delve into those poll numbers. Instead, Balz presented the Florida race as complete wild card that is unpredictable due to the three-way nature of the contest:

Gov. Charlie Crist is the man in the middle in Florida's high-stakes race for the Senate, a candidate without a party whose hopes of moving from Tallahassee to Washington depend on his ability to fend off a squeeze play from his Democratic and Republican rivals.

The three-way campaign for the Senate is the latest in a series of important races in Florida - including the 2000 recount that helped define red-blue divisions in America - but with dynamics new to the Sunshine State. 

But a look at recent polling data available on RealClearPolitics.com seems to indicate Rubio went to bed on primary election night in good shape for the general election fight ahead.

August 24, 2010, 6:02 PM EDT

For centuries, theological seminaries minted trained and licensed ministers of their respective religious traditions. They took seriously their creedal and confessional commitments to their respective faiths and denominations. While comparative theology may have been taught, it was with a view to understand and critically evaluate them as rival truth claims, not equally valid truthful claims. But those dark, backwards days may be behind us if Claremont School of Theology successfully paves the way.

Or at least that's the sentiment conveyed in Time magazine writer Elizabeth Dias's August 22 article, "Training Pastors, Rabbis, and Imams Together."

Dias's 10-paragraph-long August 22 article portrayed Claremont president Jerry Campbell as a "classic American" entrepreneur who took a novel approach to the school's "low enrollment and in-the-red" balance sheet: "end isolated clerical training" by "bring[ing] toegether Claremont, the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) and the Academy for Jewish Religion California."

Of course, religious training deals in matters of eternal verities, not marketplace commodities, so that sort of approach is unwise, religious conservatives would argue. Yet Dias excluded any dissent from her examination into the newly inclusive Methodist seminary. 

August 24, 2010, 3:59 PM EDT

It was inevitable that someone with enough time on their hands would compile a list of the best viral campaign video ads of 2010. There sure have been some doozies this year, so I can't fault Time magazine for including hits like "Demon Sheep" and the Dale Peterson ad in their top 20 list.

That said, of the 15 Republican ads in the list, most were panned by Time staffers. By contrast, two Democrats' ads -- Rep. Tom Perreillo (Va.) and  Sen. Pat Leahy (Vt.) primary opponent Dan Freilich -- were panned,  yet neither candidate's Democratic affiliation was mentioned in the blurbs about the ads.

By contrast, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), who's presenting herself to voters as a fiscal conservative, was praised for an ad featuring her toddler son, and Time's FeiFei Sun cheered Colorado Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Hickenlooper for his "Clean Campaign" in which he humorously promised to eschew negative campaign ads.

August 24, 2010, 12:33 PM EDT

Time magazine's Joe Klein yesterday did what he does best: take one paragraph from a neoconservative's column and blow it out of proportion and out of context in order to go on an extended screed bashing conservatives in general and neocons in particular.

Writing for his magazine's Swampland blog yesterday, Klein addressed Bill Kristol's editorial for the August 30 Weekly Standard print edition entitled, "He's No Muslim, He's a Progressive."

Klein started off with a backhanded compliment:

Well, it's good to learn that there are limits to Bill Kristol's tactical skeevery. He clearly states here that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. No winks, no nods, no gratuitous McConnellesque "If he says he's not, that's okay with me."

With that out of the way, Klein dove into his screed:

August 23, 2010, 11:45 PM EDT

"Nowhere near Ground Zero, but no more welcome: Outcry over mosque proposals in Tennessee and elsewhere could be a sign of rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the country."

With those words, the front page headline* and subheader for an August 23 Washington Post story by Annie Gowen conflated the controversy over the Ground Zero mosque with opposition to other mosques across the fruited plain, namely one planned for Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from where Gowen filed her story. 

Gowen waited until 27th pragraph in the 41-paragraph story to introduce the man spearheading the opposition, "a stocky 44-year-old correctional officer named Kevin Fisher" who "spent his formative years in Buffalo, where a home-grown terrorist cell of Yemeni Americans was uncovered in 2002."

Yet long before she ever got around to quoting Fisher, Gowen set out to portray the opposition to the mosque as the work of intolerant, ignorant rednecks.

August 23, 2010, 12:18 PM EDT

Today marks the first day of school for students in Prince George's County, Md. The county borders Washington, D.C. to the east and is true blue liberal Democrat in its politics, so it's no wonder that its brand new elementary school would be named after President Obama.

August 23, 2010, 12:09 AM EDT

Those familiar with the Washington Post know that the paper is a staunch defender of a very liberal vision of the separation of church and state. For example, the paper's editorial board was heavily critical of the Supreme Court's Mojave cross ruling.

But when it comes to the supposed dearth of Muslim chaplains at Virginia prisons, Sunday's Metro section went into full hand-wringing mode. "Inadequate Funds for Chaplains," complained a subheader for the page B1 story by staffer Kevin Sieff.

"In Va., most money goes to Protestant clergy," another subheadline for the story "Support limited for Muslims in prison"* lamented.

Of course, it wasn't until paragraph 27 that Sieff noted that "[n]either Catholic nor Jewish chaplains have sought funding from corrections officials." As Sieff explained early in his article, "a 200-year-old interpretation of the state constitution... bars Virginia from doing any faith-based hiring" and "is the only state where prison chaplains are contractors, not state employees." Sure, "Muslim chaplains could visit correctional facilities to minister to Virginia's 32,000 inmates," Sieff explained, "but they received no funds from the state" until a $25,000 grant was given to Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia last July.

August 20, 2010, 2:44 PM EDT

"When it comes to praying, Obama prefers privacy."

Thus reads the page A2 headline for Michael Shear's August 20 Washington Post story that reads like an extended Obama White House campaign press release.

Shear opens with a story about how Obama prayed with "three Christian pastors" over the phone as he flew to Chicago to celebrate his 49th birthday. "As he celebrated his birthday, he was in a reflective mood," Shear cooed. "He told them he wanted to pray about the year that had passed, what's really important in life and the challenges ahead," the Post staffer added before cuing up Joel Hunter, "an evangelical pastor who ws on the call and who is part of a small circle of spiritual advisers who frequently talk to Obama by phone."

Hunter served up the argument of Shear's article, that because Obama is private about his Christian faith, it's no wonder polls show a growing number of people unsure of his faith, with some even thinking he's a Muslim. "You know what happens with a vacuum?" Hunter asked, before answering his own question, "It gets filled."

August 19, 2010, 3:42 PM EDT

Back in September 2008, MSNBC's Chris Matthews floated a specious allegation that then-Governor Sarah Palin had ties to an advocate of Alaskan secession named Joe Vogler. Although the charge was roundly discredited, it was one of the many early attempts to smear Palin as a wacky extremist.

Two years later, it appears at least one writer for a liberal magazine thinks Alaskan secession would be a fun little topic to bat around the Web.

"Thought Experiment: Should Alaska Secede From the U.S.?" asked the headline for Daniel Stone's August 18 The Gaggle blog post at Newsweek.com:

August is slow around Washington, so we figured it’d be high time to toss around the idea of kicking Alaska out of the unionor the state leaving on its own accord.

The reason? Those darn Alaskans are too conservative, too critical of federal government intrusion, yet they are net recipients of federal aid from Washington spending:

August 19, 2010, 11:35 AM EDT

The number of Americans from all kinds of demographics who are unsure that President Obama is a Christian have grown since he's been in office. For instance, "fewer than half of Democrats (46%) know Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009. Barely four-in-ten African-Americans say he's a Christian, down from 56% last year," an exasperated Amy Sullivan noted in an August 19 Swampland blog post at Time.com.

So who's fault is that? Conservatives, of course, the religion reporter insisted:

It would also be foolish and naive to pretend that conservatives who call Obama a Muslim are doing it in a neutral way and that their intention is anything other than to raise questions about his "otherness."

Sullivan failed to name which prominent conservatives in particular she felt were responsible for moving public opinion on the president's religious loyalties. But in her zeal to vigorously defend Obama as a follower of Christ, Sullivan concluded by asserting that the White House has to take care to "offset those perceptions [that Obama is secretly a Muslim] with a little more openness about the president's real Christian faith."
 
Perhaps Sullivan was being extremely charitable and wished to avoid rank cynicism, but not once did it occur to her that President Obama might be an agnostic who, like many Americans, nominally associates with the Christian faith because it's a proper thing to do.
August 18, 2010, 12:44 PM EDT

"Ground Zero is not Auschwitz, so why all the analogies?"

USA Today religion blogger Cathy Lynn Grossman asks that question with the headline of her August 18 Faith & Reason post.

Grossman explained that the comparison stems from conservatives who pointed out an incident in the early 1990s when Pope John Paul II halted a planned convent near the Auschwitz concentration camp. The nuns had every right to build the convent, but it was unwise and insensitive to do so, leading the pontiff to scrap the plan. By way of analogy, Muslims have every right to build a mosque near Ground Zero, but the insensitivity of doing so blocks from the site of the deadliest radical Islamic terror attack in U.S. history should lead Muslim leaders to call for the project to be scrapped.

But Grossman then went on to quote two liberals who reject the Auschwitz analogy as invalid before she conflated the Ground Zero mosque issue with isolated incidents across the country where other folks are raising NIMBY objections to mosques in their hometowns (emphasis Grossman's):

August 17, 2010, 4:47 PM EDT

Radical Islam, schmadical Islam.

"[N]ine years after 9/11, the fight over the mosque near Ground Zero shows how obsessed we remain with an enemy that may no longer exist."

That's the argument from Time magazine deputy managing editor Romesh Ratnesar in his August 17 online Viewpoint essay entitled, "The 'Ground Zero Mosque' Debate: Exaggerating the Jihadist Threat."

"The mosque's critics and champions both say their goal is to counter radical Islam," Ratnesar noted, arguing that both sides are all wet:

August 17, 2010, 12:36 PM EDT

In a Swampland blog post this morning entitled, "Something I Didn't Know," Time magazine's Joe Klein pointed to a New York Times article that noted the existence of two mosques "already within several blocks of the proposed [Islamic] center."

But while other folks might draw the conclusion that building an additional mosque just blocks from Ground Zero is a needless exercise in dividing New Yorkers over a highly sensitive matter, Klein ran in the exact opposite direction, suggesting that logical consistency would compel mosque opponent Newt Gingrich to want to "close those suckers down"?

"[T]his is further evidence of the true nature of this squabble: a particularly sleazy form of Nativist electoral politics," Klein insisted. [click here for a related post by Brent Baker]

August 17, 2010, 11:31 AM EDT

How dense and forgetful does Newsweek think socially conservative voters are?

Apparently so much so that the magazine's Ben Adler predicts yesterday's stay on Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling permitting same-sex marriages in California will blunt the hopes Republicans have of social conservatives coming out in force on Election Day to help push the GOP to victory in the midterms on Election Day.

In his August 17 The Gaggle blog post, "9th Circuit Stays Pro-Gay Marriage Ruling, Takes Away GOP Issue,"  Adler argues that:

Social conservatives were set to use the images of gay couples getting married in California as grist to motivate their base to turn out in the midterm elections. Republicans look certain to gain seats in both Houses of Congress in November, as opposition parties typically do during midterms. Whether they will pull the inside straight they need to take over either, or both, the House and Senate, will depend on any number of factors, but turnout is sure to be one of them.

Further, Adler maintained, because "the Democrats have not done much to invite images of an American Gomorrah" what with President Obama moving "very gingerly" and tentatively on issues like repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," social conservatives need the visual impact of gay and lesbian couples at the altar this fall to incense social conservatives and drive them like angry hornets to the ballot box.