What Was the New York Post Thinking?

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Racy photographs are not uncommon in the New York Post, the news tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, but a couple of the paper’s recent covers have many wondering just what in the hell the editors were thinking. On Sunday and Monday, the NY Post published nude modeling photos of Melania Trump, the would-be First Lady. While it doesn’t appear that Melania or Donald Trump mind the pictures, some believe that the covers indicate a changing viewpoint from the conservative Murdoch.

Trump himself was obviously not surprised by the photos, as he is quoted in one of the accompanying articles.

“Melania was one of the most successful models, and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines,” said the Republican nominee. “This was a picture taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania. In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.”

The photos are hardly the essence of hardcore porn, but the nudity and the lesbian themes could play poorly with the conservative evangelicals with whom Trump is already struggling. Even if they don’t, you have to wonder: Was Murdoch trying to help Trump, hurt him, or just sell a boatload of papers?

You can’t help but be reminded of a moment in the primaries when a Ted Cruz super PAC released a nude photo of Melania just before the voters in Utah went to the polls. That photo prompted Trump to make some backhanded comments about Cruz’s wife, Heidi, starting a personal feud that still simmers to this day. It was because of this feud, apparently, that Cruz was unable to bring himself to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention.

As far as Murdoch is concerned, there are plenty of people who worry that his larger day-to-day role in the operation of Fox News will move the channel away from the conservative underpinnings put in place by Roger Ailes. Ailes was forced out last month due to accusations of sexual harassment, and there is evidence that Murdoch’s heirs are much more liberal-minded than he is.

In another era, photos like this would have doomed a Republican presidential candidate. But we’re not in that era anymore, and Trump has already proven immune to many things that would have destroyed a more traditional politician. It’s unlikely that Melania’s nude photos will mean a thing.

But if this heralds a new age for the New York Post (and, perhaps, Fox News), then it’s truly a sad day for conservative media.