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Monday, October 23, 2017

It used to be called yellow journalism. Using sensationalism, scare headlines and lurid photography, newspapers in the late 19th century competed for circulation by exploiting public interest in the grisly and the shocking.

Much of journalism improved, but yellow journalism seemed impervious to change. Modern yellow journalism was typified by the screaming 1983 New York Post front-page headline: “HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR.”

The writer of that headline was Vincent A. Musetto, who died last year at age 74, having worked at the Post for 41 years. The Post obituary said of his headline: “As witty as it was horrific, it expressed with unflinching precision the city’s accelerating tailspin into an abyss of atrocious crime and chaos.”

Today we have Donald Trump for that.

Trump has changed the rules for what is and isn’t atrocious, chaotic or, at least, acceptable news.

Last week, a reporter tweeted in part, “New anti-Trump superPAC ads feature a naked Melania Trump, and a bear-skin rug.”

The tweet was accompanied by the ad in question, a semi-nude photograph of Trump’s wife, Melania, a former model. Above Mrs. Trump were the words “Meet Melania Trump. Your next first lady.” And below were the words “Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.”

The effectiveness of the ad — or the lack thereof — is the notion that many people still care who the first lady is and whether a picture that is about as “naughty” as the ones featured in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is enough to scandalize the nation.

The ad was puerile enough to resemble a Donald Trump tweet rather than a Ted Cruz tweet, which Trump appeared to prove by tweeting: “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”

Sort of makes you long for the good old days when political ads were about health care and carbon emissions, doesn’t it?

But what are the beans that Trump may spill about Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and why should we care?

An online story by Vanity Fair spilled the beans about the spilled beans: “The Cruz campaign has already publicly acknowledged that Heidi suffered a ‘brief bout with depression’ when she gave up a high-powered career in Washington to follow Cruz to Texas.”

How this leads logically from a naughty photo of one candidate’s spouse to the fact that another candidate’s spouse once suffered from depression, I don’t know.

You can pick just about any statistic you want about depression in America, but it is safe to say that millions of Americans suffer from it, some all the time and some occasionally, some severely and some mildly, some seeking help and others not.

Why Trump would threaten to reveal this about a future first lady, I also don’t know. Does Trump believe that the first lady ascends to the presidency should something happen to the president? Does Trump believe that this is England in the 16th century rather than the United States in the 21st?

And does anyone believe that a depressed president has never held the office? I think Abraham Lincoln was our greatest president, and if he didn’t suffer from depression, I can’t understand why not. He certainly had a right to. And he still did a swell job.

Which raises the question: Is depression the scarlet letter it once was — especially in a spouse rather than the officeholder?

The whole thing doesn’t make any sense to me. I think killing a bear to make a rug is a worse thing to do than taking off your clothes and lying on that rug for a picture. (Among consenting adults and consenting bears, of course.)

Anyway, Cruz called Trump a “sniveling coward” and said Trump should “leave Heidi the hell alone.” This is where things stood, except for a tabloid story that Cruz has had extramarital affairs with five women, which Cruz denies and blames on Trump. Trump denies being involved.

Which is a shame. Nobody even challenged anyone to a duel. By the end of the week, all the alleged misbehavior just seemed to lie there like a huge steaming pile of … spilled beans.

“Years from now, when my daughters Google this, they will read these lies,” Cruz told reporters, adding, “The question that the people of America are going to have to answer is, How low will Donald go?”

It is my sincere hope, however, that when the people of America Google and read these stories not too many years from now, the question they will want answered is: Who the heck was Donald Trump?

Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist. His new e-book, “Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America,” can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump waits to come into the spin room with his wife Melania after the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by ABC News at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire February 6, 2016.     REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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Copyright 2016 The National Memo

31 Responses to Melania Trump Goes Bare. Should We Care?

  1. The headline is materially misleading. It should read “went bare” as the GQ shoot occurred many years ago.

  2. Let’s not scoop down to the dirt the far right lives in, and that is not limited to Melania, it also includes the behavior of the righteous Governor of Alabama.
    Focus on substance, and VOTE!

  3. Just another adult male attempt to ram sex and nudity in our kids faces. I find it amusing that some men in the US are beginning to show the side effects of overdosing on Viagra.

    Who the hell cares when the GQ shoot occurred? Does it EVER occur to men that women have more to offer than sex?

    Any day now one of the Calgary hookers is going to out Cruz. After all, prostitution is LEGAL in Alberta Canada as it is in several provinces.

    All Trump and Cruz prove is how childish some men really are and these are men unfit to serve in any ADULT capacity. It sure does explain why the hell the US is the laughing stock of the world these days.

  4. One thing I do know, if that was Michelle Obama’s old photo shoot, she would not be the First Lady of the US now. Isn’t it almost time for Trump to trade in Melania for a younger version of Ivana???

    • And why wouldn’t she be the First Lady now? She’s quite good looking and classy (which would preclude her from having this type of a photo in the first place)!

  5. I have to be fair here. We all have our past lives. Melania had her past life as well. That time a photo was taken, she was single now she is married. That time she had no kid, now she has. She is now respected as a married woman. To bring the past and make it the present, is beyond my beliefs and it is a BIG insult to her and the people surrounding her or to anyone who knows her. Cruz is a horrible individual as we have witnessed what he has been doing to his fellow contenders since primaries started.

    • Again, we have to blame the PAC’s for some of these ads because they pay for them without any input from the candidate at all from what I understand. We can, as I’ve said before, thank Citizen’s United for their contribution to this madness!!!

  6. Why is this even making news now? I saw those photo last year, I was looking for information on the Trump wives and they were just there with all the other pictures, no big deal. There are also pictures of Sarah Pailin in a swim suit on line if anyone cares. Why does anyone care? With all the problems in our world why is this all they have to talk about? I think Trump is trying to see just how low he can go and still get support. The Cruz camp is just plain stupid for following Trumps lead into this rabbit hole. This shows just why neither of these people should be our president. Cruz could have turned this whole thing around and come out smelling like a rose but he instead played right into Trump hands. The Clown Car just keeps rolling along.

  7. She’s a beautiful woman. She was a model making her own living. She was not, I understand, Trump’s wife when that photo was taken. So why is this news? Other than Republican nonsense, it’s just prurient, pedestrian, conservative Puritanism. Jealousy, too. Name another Republican who has a wife anyone would want to see nude. 🙂

    • Personally, if I actually cared about naked first ladies…Michelle Obama isn’t too bad to look at. But, being a woman, it wouldn’t tickle my fancy.

  8. Just for fun I went looking for swim suit shots of Trump. There is only one and I can’t even be sure it him. The question is, does Donald have a body or is he a robot. All his wives can be found swimming, Hillary can be found swimming. Can Donald swim? Is he really a human or is he some creature from outer space? What is he hiding?

    • The thought of seeing Trump in a bathing suit has totally ruined my day!!! Can’s seem to get that picture out of my head!!! EEEECCCKK!!!

  9. Yes, it is ridiculous…..instead of dealing with the issues at hand, all the GOP candidates do is try to out-belittle the other one!! They have NO answers to today’s problems and are only worried about the ads put out by the PACS (and we can thank Citizen’s United for those wonderful people)! Instead of this constant bickering…..why don’t they focus on what is important to the American people? We certainly don’t give a damn about Melania naked on a bear rug (except for the bear, of course), or the alleged “affairs” by Cruz. These don’t solve our everyday problems and are just a bunch of BS!!!

  10. I’m bothered by this as much as I was about Michelle Obama’s bare arms….Not at all! What I’m more concerned about is the men involved in the GOP Prez contest. One is a megalomaniac, one is NUTS, and the last one is a complete A-Hole! I realize that each of these characteristics could apply to all 3. So…DONT VOTE FOR ANY OF THEM!!! Vote Democratic! It’s the mature and sensible thing to do.

  11. This silly, childish nonsense will quickly be forgotten … Unless, of course it is about Hillary. Then it would take on a zombie-like presence and remain an obsession forever, even long after ten or twelve congressional “investigations” have completely refuted any veracity to the story.

  12. Yeah, I noticed that nude rug photo of Melania Trump. For hours actually. Not sure how I feel about that. I may have to examine more of these photos before I reach a conclusion.

  13. This reminds me of the travesty of inflicted on Michael and Kitty Dukakis for her mental health problems. Cruel and inexcusable are the only applicable description. Morally despicable is another. I feel the same way about Dump threatening out Mrs. Cruz. Depression is an awful mental illness and politics aside my sympathy and hopes for her positive resolution. A semi-nude picture of Dump’s wife is hardly shocking for a former model and from what I have seen hardly the stuff of scandal. But what can be expect from a campaign where the candidates are making dick jokes about each other.

  14. I don’t think Mrs. Trump’s picture is pornographic or that it means she is a bad person. I do think it is incompatible with the DIGNITY we expect and have a right to expect, from any First Lady of the United States. When I think back of every First Lady during my long lifetime, every single one was always dignified and considered in all respects a good person, wife, mother – yes even Nancy Reagan who was controversial for a few things but in actuality was a perfectly good First Lady.
    I abominate Ted Cruz (and Donald Trump) but I think the ad showing the semi-naked Mrs. Trump was fair and relevant.

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