How to detect a pedophile

In a segment on his latest show Who Is America?, Sacha Baron Cohen, in his adopted persona as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, interviews failed Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore and demonstrates a new device supposedly invented by the Israeli army that can detect pedophiles, something that Moore has been accused of being. The interview does not go well.

What is incredible is how Moore calmly asserts that Alabama has always believed in equality and that everyone has been free regardless of race or religion or sexuality. Alabama!

Once again, Baron Cohen duped his targets by using their reflexive support for Israel to get them to let down their guard.

Moore said he was invited to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to “receive an award for my strong support of Israel in commemoration of her 70th anniversary as a nation.”

Moore said other than expenses, he was not paid for the appearance. He said he “did not know Sacha Cohen or that a Showtime TV series was being planned to embarrass, humiliate, and mock not only Israel, but also religious conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Walsh, and Dick Cheney.”

Moore has threatened to sue but he always threatens to sue and it never goes anywhere. It is just trying to save face, like his threatened legal challenge to his loss in the Alabama senate race.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Long ago, I read a news story from even further ago, when lie detectors were making the transition from science fiction to reality (well, sort-of reality, since they still haven’t made it all the way).

    Anyhow, it seems some cops were interrogating a suspect (who must’ve been white, since they didn’t use rubber hoses or electrical cords or even fists), which involved putting a metal colander on his head, with a wire leading to a photocopier (also a new technology at that time), which they told him was a lie detector. Sure enough, every so often one of them would push a button on the photocopier, and out would come a piece of paper saying in big black letters, “HE’S LYING.”

    By means of this high-tech breakthrough, they reportedly finally obtained a complete confession.

  2. blf says

    Re @1, Snopes rates the “Colander Lie Detector” as “Legend”.

    This article (The Wire: Ripped From Real Life, Jan-2008), quotes from David Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets about “lie detection” by photocopier:

    [… Detectives in Detroit], when confronted with a statement of dubious veracity, would sometimes adjourn to the Xerox room and load three sheets of paper into the feeder.

    “Truth,” said the first.

    “Truth,” said the second.

    “Lie,” said the third.

    Then the suspect would be led into the room and told to put his hand against the side of the machine. The detectives would ask the man’s name, listen to the answer, then hit the copy button.


    And where do you live?

    Truth again.

    And did you or did you not kill Tater, shooting him down like a dog in the 1200 block of North Durham Street?

    Lie. Well, well: You lying […]

    I’m not too confident about either the linked-to source, or the quoted book. The article is about a fictional series, and the book was written by the executive producer of that series. On the other hand, the book is supposedly describing real-life police work.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    blf @ # 2 -- Thanks! I shoulda done that bit of fact-checking myself before posting.

  4. says

    @ Pierce and BLF nos. 1 & 2:

    I can’t find the clip on YouTube, but before they tried this trick on The Wire detectives John Munch and Stan Bolander—played brilliantly by Richard Belzer and Ned Beatty—created the scene that may have been the genesis of the legend in episode eight of the first season of Homicide, Life On The Streets. Or is it the other way around?

  5. Curt Sampson says

    It’s the other way around; Homicide: Life on the Street predates The Wire. While the the latter TV series is pure fiction, the former is a fictionalized version of the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which is not fiction: it describes a year David Simon (at the time a reporter for the Baltimore Sun) spent with detectives from the Baltimore homicide unit. It does indeed describe the photocopier incident, though Wikipedia says it was described as “a folk tale in police circles” but also that, “A story from the book notes that several cops in Detroit were punished for using this technique during interrogations.” I do recall the technique from the book, but I don’t recall the details. (It’s been quite a few years since I’ve read it.) That said, it’s hardly the only fairly dumb technique that criminals were described as falling for.

    You can scene from The Wire (season 5 episode 1) here on Youtube.

  6. says

    @Curt, No. 5

    When I wrote “or was it the other way around” I didn’t mean did The Wire come first, but rather, was the legend the inspiration for Simon and Homicide or was Simon and Homicide the inspiration for the legend?



    p.s. that my two favorite police procedurals were set in baltimore is fascinating to me.

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