Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein begs the question: “Why are journalists interviewing Sacha Baron Cohen’s alter ego as if he were actually real?” Stein says reputable news outlets such as CNN International and the Guardian, which have interviewed Cohen in character as Kazakh reporter Borat, are not following on of the basic tenets of journalism — only using quotes from real people. He compares this practice with “the Stephen Glass/Jayson Blair/Loch Ness monster way [of journalism].” In the end, Stein claims the most important question raised by Cohen’s hit movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, is whether the act of tricking unsuspecting victims and sharing it with millions of people is cruel or funny.
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