Matt Towery

In his recently published book, "Foundations of Betrayal," author and commentator Phil Kent meticulously mines the history of foundations and organizations that are often used by candidates or the media when analyzing issues or establishing "the facts."

In his book, Kent chronicles how apparently benign groups such as the Ford Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Carnegie Foundation, to name a few, have immense influence over government policy and public opinion.

Yet their work seems predicated less on the kind of dispassionate research one expects from centers for research and policy, and more on a particular political philosophy -- liberal philosophy.

Nevertheless, the work of these big-name institutions can be found in newspaper articles, polls and "white papers" (issues papers) that often are presented as gospel truth by journalists or politicians.

Just like so much in this world, these organizations and those who rely on their information have a huge double standard. These founts of information aren't made to submit themselves to scrutiny meant to uncover their biases and don't have their information flagged with disclaimers when it's circulated by media and others. Liberal research is often treated as fact, in other words, and conservative research as conjecture or propaganda.

As you watch political coverage in the coming presidential election year, especially on TV networks known to feel more comfortable to the left of the political center, make note of who they cite as sources for their "facts," data and polling.

You may even want to extend your vigilance to the commentary from these networks' "experts." Twice now I've seen network analysts declare John McCain the winner of a GOP presidential debate, right after McCain's debate answers nearly got him booed off the stage.

Incompetence or intellectual dishonesty isn't pretty, whether it comes from the left or right.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery