If you're wondering why a new poll shows that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support the NYPD, despite the best efforts of The New York Times and the Associated Press to damn the cops as Muslim-bashing brownshirts, consider Thursday's guilty plea by New York jihadist Jesse Curtis Morton on terror-related charges.
Morton pleaded guilty to using the Internet "to conspire to solicit murder," spread fear and radicalize others, as head of a group called Revolution Muslim.
He had ties to "a string" of terror cases, the Justice Department said, and to threats against the creators of the "South Park" television series and "an artist tied to the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' movement," among others.
Not surprisingly, Morton's guilty pleas were largely a result of NYPD monitoring.
That would be the same monitoring program that so offends the Times and AP — and therein lies a cautionary tale.
Shortly before the Morton pleas, 33 Muslim-associated groups petitioned state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the NYPD's anti-terror efforts — which, admittedly, are aggressive, energetic and thorough.
Now, the right to petition is fundamental — so power to the petitioners.
But while most of the Schneiderman signatories are beyond obscure — indeed, many likely are little more than letterheads — some are quite well known.
But not in a good way.
* The Council on American-Islamic Relations. Federal documents suggest that CAIR was founded as a front for Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist terror group in Gaza. Several of its members have been linked to terror organizations, including al Qaeda and the Taliban.
In December, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of the founder of CAIR's Dallas chapter and other officials for their support of terrorism tied to the infamous Holy Land case. CAIR itself was listed as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in that instance.
CAIR often implies that America's War on Terror is basically a war on Islam — a theme echoed by the groups asking Schneiderman to probe the NYPD.
* The Islamic Circle of North America. Terrorism expert Steven Emerson calls this group the "the American branch of the Jamat Islamiya, the southeast Asian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood."
At recent conventions, speakers have accused America of waging a global war against Muslims, called for the end of Israel and incited hatred toward Jews, the Anti-Defamation League says.
"Although [ICNA] pretends to be moderate, [its conference speakers] have repeatedly called for the 'liberation of Palestine,' the imposition of Sharia worldwide and for Islam to take over America," says Emerson.
And they've "openly praised violent jihadist organizations while railing against US and 'Zionist conspiracies.' "
* The Muslim Alliance in North America. MANA is headed by Siraj Wahhaj, who stuck up for the blind terrorist cleric, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, at his terror trial and is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
* The Muslim Public Affairs Council. MPAC spends much of its time claiming terror cases against Muslims are bogus.
It opposes numerous anti-terror laws, blames Israel for 9/11, defends Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood and insists Islamic terrorism doesn't exist (if you say it does, you're racist).
These groups have a right to their views. And rhetorically endorsing violence may be obnoxious, but it's generally legal.
But if the average person needs a scorecard to make sense of the Schneiderman letter, imagine how hard it is for the NYPD to sift the terrorist wheat from the kibitzer chaff.
The department's counter-terror experts need to look at all potential threats — because lives are at stake.
Does this mean innocent individuals and organizations will fall under scrutiny?
We're not suggesting the department pounce on letters to the attorney general as a matter of routine.
But we do offer this one as a valid example of the degree of difficulty that attends counter-terrorism in a city as complex as New York.
And, sometimes, up pops a Jesse Curtis Morton and his Revolution Muslim group.
Clearly, New Yorkers get it.
The new Quinnipiac University poll reports that an amazing 77 percent of New Yorkers believe the department to be "effective in combatting terrorism."
And, despite the best efforts of the Times and AP to convince folks otherwise, the Q poll says fully 60 percent believe the NYPD treats Muslims correctly.
Public-opinion polls, of course, must not be allowed to drive policy, especially in such sensitive areas as counter-terrorism and the safety of New York City.
But there is scant evidence — none, actually — to suggest that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD have acted inappropriately in these matters.
The Times and AP need to give it a rest.