The billionaire Univision owner whose company is promoting Hillary Clinton on Spanish-language media platforms is a Clinton friend who said that seeing Clinton in the White House is his “big dream” and that “Hillary is Obama’s natural successor.”
The partnership raises serious questions about the role independent media networks can play in preparing Clinton for a presidential run.
“Too Small to Fail,” a joint initiative of the childhood development research group Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, launched in June 2013 with the stated aim of promoting research about brain development, nutrition, and health for children aged 0 to 5. Now the project, and its spokesperson Hillary Clinton, will get a lot of face time on the largest Spanish-language media network in the United States.
Clinton and Univision announced a multi-year partnership between “Too Small To Fail” and the top-rated Spanish media platform that gives Clinton a direct line to the Hispanic population that both major parties are desperate to win in 2016.
“The partnership, branded in Spanish as ‘Pequeños y Valiosos,’ will deliver expert research, commentary and information across Univision platforms,” according to a February Clinton Foundation press release timed for an East Harlem press conference featuring Clinton and Univision CEO Randy Falco.
But the motives behind the partnership deserve severe scrutiny.
Egyptian-born billionaire Haim Saban became executive chairman of Univision Communications, which owns and operates the Univision television network and other properties, after his Saban Capital Group put forth a successful $12.3 billion cash buyout of the media company in 2006.
Saban, worth approximately $3.5 billion, is a major Democratic donor and pro-Obama super PAC contributor in 2012. Saban previously imported the program “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” from Japan and sold the rights to the franchise to Disney in 2001 before buying the Rangers back in 2010. The Power Rangers reportedly account for most of his wealth.
Saban has close ties to the Clintons, and routinely hosts the former Democratic First Couple at his 23,000 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion. Saban and his Saban Family Foundation had donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation by May 2012, before the Clinton Foundation launched “Too Small To Fail.”
Four days after Univision first announced November 25 that it would be partnering in some way with the Clinton Foundation’s “Too Small To Fail” initiative, Saban expressed his willingness to help Clinton become president.
“She would be a wonderful president. If it happens, we will of course pitch in with full might. Seeing her in the White House is a big dream of mine,” Saban told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on November 29 without mentioning Univision.
“The general feeling is that Hillary is Obama’s natural successor,” Saban said.
Saban’s pro-Clinton statement and the Clinton-Univision partnership came about just weeks after Clinton dined at Saban’s home.
Clinton headlined an October 30 fundraiser at Saban’s Beverly Hills estate which, despite focusing its fundraising efforts on Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign, looked like a “Clintonite reunion,” according to observers. Clinton sat beside Saban’s wife Cheryl at the event.
Univision Communications did not return a request for comment.