L.A. billionaire Haim Saban, who supported the controversial effort to sink a California citizens commission that will draw the boundaries for congressional and state legislature districts, gets help in remaking his image from a fawning Jewish Journal cover story.
The piece runs a little more than a week after the Saban-backed Proposition 27 was solidly rebuffed by voters and gave the politically engaged billionaire something of a black eye reputation-wise — the ballot measure would have allowed state and congressional elected officials to keep drawing their own districts, a shady political practice known as “gerrymandering.”
The Prop. 27 debacle is mentioned nowhere in the Jewish Journal article.
The Jewish Journal, however, spends plenty of ink on Saban's virtues, noting that the billionaire's “ultimate” aim for his work on Israeli issues is to “help bring peace to the Middle East.”
Whoa! That's a tall order, even for a billionaire.
We especially chuckled at the scene where Saban and members of the Israeli Leadership Council are discussing Israel's “image problem.” It's an ironic moment for the billionaire that the Journal could have craftily applied to his own public relations troubles. The opportunity, sadly, was lost.
Instead, the Journal gives Saban space to rant about a recent New Yorker profile by the esteemed journalist Connie Bruck.
“It was a mistake to talk to her,” Saban tells the Jewish Journal, referring to Bruck. “She has a problem with success. This guy that stole $36 million from me? She calls him 'brainy' and 'engaging.' She doesn't say one nice thing about me in the whole article. She says I'm manipulative.”
Bruck is not offered a rebuttal in the piece, even though the weekly newspaper prints Saban's charges that the writer “misquoted” him. The Journal doesn't say if it reached out to Bruck.
Much of the rest of the article details various big checks Saban's written to charities and the Democratic party. His $2-million loan to the pro-Prop. 27 effort, however, is noticeably absent.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.