The Associated Press has been attacking the New York Police Department for . . . doing its job. As Bob McManus of the New York Post writes today, "Strip away the emotive rhetoric and what’s left is a series of stories over several weeks that show pretty clearly that the NYPD works very hard to keep the city safe — operating an aggressive and imaginative program, but staying well within both the law and the bounds of post-9/11 propriety from beginning to end."

And as McManus also notes, "Of all the cheesy stunts The Associated Press has pulled in its continuing calumny of the NYPD’s anti-terrorism efforts, the agency’s trip to Columbia University this past weekend will be hard to top. Finding Columbia kids who disapprove of the NYPD in general isn’t a high-degree-of-difficulty task; ask about “spying” on Muslim students and the knees really start to jerk. . . Still, when anyone needs a barking seal, Columbia is where to go."

Wasn’t it just a year ago that the university’s best and brightest were publicly mocking a disabled Purple Heart vet of the Iraq war who wanted only to bring ROTC back to Morningside Heights?

Columbia is also where they keep the Pulitzers in the off-season; American journalism’s most treasured self-affirmation program is more or less run from the university’s J-school. Since the awards are soon to be presented, and since the AP’s lust for one is almost comically transparent, its show-the-flag campus visit is wholly unsurprising.

Of course, whether a supposedly nuts-and-bolts news-gathering agency should be in the advocacy business in any form is open to question. But the AP is, big-time (its Albany report is close to useless), and so the relevant question now is this: Has the crusade produced anything of value?

Not really.

Heat? Yes. Light? No.

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