While I appreciate Sacha Baron Cohen's marketing savvy, the willingness of news organizations to happily cooperate -- and interview him in character as he promotes his new movie "The Dictator" -- is one more reason I can't watch "morning news" very often, or even label it as such with a straight face.
Cohen's tour included a stop on "The Daily Show" on Monday, and even that's pushing things. But to see Matt Lauer playing along and directing probing questions at Adm. Gen. Aladeen is just too giddy to tolerate. (That said, I did enjoy Cohen's joke about Lauer fighting off a coup by Ryan Seacrest and having him executed.)
Admittedly, the standards of morning news have never been particularly tough, and one of the reasons Lauer gets paid the (very) big bucks is his ability to segue from serious to silly in the blink of an eye.
Still, there's silly, and then there's ridiculous. And the newsmen who engage in these stunts tend to look less like good sports than corporate tools. (As an aside, there's only one person I'd really like to see interview Cohen in this fashion, and that's Stephen Colbert, since both possess an uncanny knack for improvising within a character.)
Fortunately, "The Dictator" tour will soon be over, and with any luck, the only thing that actually catches a bullet will be "Today's" credibility.