Sacha Baron Cohen not so brave as advertised

I've been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen ever since his Ali G days. All three of his creations were hilarious. Ali G was the faux rap artist from London. Bruno was the vapid, self-important gay Austrian fashionista. And Borat was the clueless "journalist" from Kazahkstan.

Cohen's specialty was ambushing unsuspecting victims who didn't realize he was in character when interviewing them.

Cohen has been fearless about playing the fool in all three incarnations

He has been fearless about creating excruciatingly awkward situations.

And he has shown no hesitation to take on recent power players like Avraham Koop, Brent Scowcroft, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, or Bhoutros Bhoutros Ghali.

He has even been willing, in his Bruno persona, to brave the wrath of homophobic gun nuts from Alabama.

My admiration for Cohen reached new heights when as "Bruno" he told a terrorist group leader of the Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs brigade that he had sustained great sun damage to his hair, and at another point, actually refers to Osama bin Laden as "a dirty wizard."

Yesterday it was announced that Cohen had settled a lawsuit with this man. Turns out the man, Ayman Abu Aita, is neither a terrorist nor a Muslim, but a Greek Orthodox grocer.

Cohen may be funny, but he is also a con man. And his contempt for his interviewees evidently extends to his audience, whom he fools with equal disregard.