Former Congressman Joe Walsh is the latest to come forward to discuss being duped by Sacha Baron Cohen for Cohen's new show premiering Sunday night on Showtime, "Who Is America?"
I'll give Walsh props for having a good sense of humor about himself getting punked, and being okay with people having a laugh at his own expense. He explains the set-up on Michael Smerconish's CNN show - that because he's a strong supporter of Israel, Baron's crew convinced him he was getting an award from an Israeli TV station. He read some nutty things off a teleprompter, one of which involved fake Israeli news story about a a terrorist who had broken into a pre-school classroom. The story went that one of the of the pre-schoolers got the terrorists weapon away from him and held him at bay, saving his class.
Then, the "Israeli" reporter asked Walsh if that was evidence that Americans should train and arm our own pre-schoolers...to which Walsh admitted to thinking was weird, but amazingly did not reply in the negative. Instead, he said something about Israel being pretty good on defense, and maybe they knew what they were doing.
Walsh started off the segment talking about the things that make Sacha Baron Cohen funny: (1) he gets people to say stupid things, and (2) he gets them to say stupid things because he lies to them.
Walsh is right about the first thing. He's wrong about the second. People don't say stupid things because Cohen lies to them. People say stupid things because:
1. they believe them,
2. they want something from the people they are talking to,
3. they are afraid to make waves, or
4. they are stupid.
Whatever award Joe Walsh thought he was getting from some TV station in Israel, no matter how on the spot he felt, or how confused, the only acceptable, ethical, moral answer to that question was, "No. That is not evidence that America should be training and arming our pre-schoolers."
They do go on to talk about Sarah Palin's segment wherein Cohen tricks her. She claims he posed as a disabled veteran in a wheelchair, which Cohen denies. We'll have to watch when it comes out, I suppose (I see what you did there, Sacha...) but Walsh and Smerconish talk the harsh talk about crossing a line when you impersonate a disabled vet for a laugh. That that amounts to "stolen valor."
I have a much bigger problem with Trump's impersonation of a disabled recruit during Vietnam, but that's just me.