Has the coverage of Hillary Clinton in The Onion changed since one of her biggest supporters struck a deal to purchase the company?

Inspired by The Onion, I’m working on a new business plan. It only has two steps.

STEP ONE: Start a satire company that relentlessly mocks Hillary Clinton.

STEP TWO: Sell to Clinton’s biggest supporter.

While, as far as I know, no one one The Onion’s editorial staff has talked to the press and confirmed that they’ve been given the order to take it easy on Hillary Clinton, it would seem, just based on a quick comparison of Clinton-related headlines over the past few weeks, that some kind of shift has taken place. For example, compare the following two headlines. The first one ran prior to Univision purchasing a 40% controlling interest in the company in late January. And the second, which you’ll find at the end of the post, ran just yesterday. [Not only does Univision now own 40% of The Onion, but they also acquired an option to buy the remainder of the company in the future.]


It might sound like yet another conspiracy theory, if not for the fact that Haim Saban, a wealthy Hillary Clinton supporter, is Univision’s chairman and co-owner. What’s more, he’s gone on the record in the past saying that American politics can be influenced through the control of media outlets. Following is a clip from The Intercept:

…An extensive New Yorker profile of Saban recalls how Saban publicly described his “three ways to be influential in American politics” in 2009. One was political donations. Another was establishing think tanks (he founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in 2002). And the third was controlling media outlets…

And Saban isn’t just a rich Hillary Clinton supporters. He’s her go-to money person. “Saban and his wife, Cheryl,” according to The Intercept, “are Hillary Clinton’s top financial backers, having given $2,046,600 to support her political campaigns and at least $10 million more to the Clinton Foundation, on whose board Cheryl Saban sits.”

Now here’s yesterday’s Clinton-related headline… So, what do you think? Is there a subtle shift taking place?


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  1. Anonymatt
    Posted February 17, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, the most recent Hillary story in the Onion before that was “Clinton Aide Told To Leave Behind Weak Volunteer Who Collapsed During March To South Carolina” on February 12. That story does not seem positive to me, I’d wait for more than one positive story before I’d declare a trend.

    I’d also like to say the Jan 31 story “Clinton Ominously Tells Iowan Supporters To Mark Front Doors With Campaign Logo Before Sundown” is not positive for Hillary, but is hilarious.

  2. anonymous
    Posted February 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    The shift may be slight. Better photos of her. Mention of her various successes before going for the punchline.

  3. Ben Collins
    Posted February 17, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    “So I need you guys to write something supporting Hillary. But keep it hip and funny, really just HAVE FUN with it.”

  4. Joe M.
    Posted February 17, 2016 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Jumping the gun with this post a bit, eh?

    Wait until you can gather at least a half dozen before and after headlines to make a comparison. They can’t all be knockout punches – some have to be deft jabs to the body.

  5. Peter Larson
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    The transition of Maynard to an anti-Glenn Beck is nearly complete.

  6. stupid hick
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I just read that Glenn Beck said he thinks that God killed Scalia to support Ted Cruz, so Cruz will be the one to appoint a replacement SC Justice, so that we won’t lose our liberty, because the Constitution is hanging by a thread. Seriously. Can Mark top that?

  7. Jean Henry
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Is the Onion journalism?

    Is it subject to journalistic standards?

    If not, then why wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) a Hillary supporter use a forum it owns to support a candidate it supports? That proves what exactly? That the Onion is less than serious? That HRC’s team is corrupt? or savvy?

    Not that they did. In general huge, multinational corporations subject to shareholder review don’t spend millions of dollars on an acquisition to influence a political race is very marginal ways. I know that’s shocking, since lately people appear to believe that corporations only exist to influence political elections.

    Does Sanders pay Mark Maynard for positive coverage? If not, you’re just a chump.

  8. EOS
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Most importantly, will the Onion use the video of Hillary (Bark like a Dog) Clinton?

  9. Lynne
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I have news for you. In the history of media, rich people have always had more of a voice than everyone else. If anything, the internet gives others more of a voice than they had before. So while it may be true that the rich are using the media to favor certain candidates over others, it is also true that such antics have less of an effect.

  10. Eel
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    That last headline is so funny. I read it, and thought, “But how could she be any more inspiring?” I was angry for a minute, and then I figured out that it was the joke, and I LOL’d.

  11. Mr. X
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The Onion should be paid for with taxes, like PBS.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure Ben & Jerry has bought out MM for something less than 200 million dollars. But wait, aren’t they now owned by Unilever? Hmmmm… And Unilever gave money to the Clinton Foundation (not HRC campaign) while Ben & Jerry are stumping for and funding Bernie. A house divided against itself— or is it? They must be corrupted because they are associates in…. (cue Jaws sound) b u s i n e s s! What’s the long game Maynard? If you dont fess up, people will just make stuff up and post it on the internet. Because democracy of information is making our country great. Booya!

    I have a high fever right now and could make up a lot of shit while waiting for the room to spin, but my daughter just ordered me off the internet. An internet-vention. Otherwise, I would definitely continue contributing positively to the public discourse in a purely factual manner.

  13. Vince Foster
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Mark, set up a seance, I have a lead for you.

  14. Peter Larson
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Note that like Glenn Beck, Mark isn’t saying there is a conspiracy, he is merely asking the question, relieving him of having to take responsibility for it.

    Who cares? So there’s a company which supports a political candidate. The Onion isn’t journalism, but there are still newspapers which support specific candidates.

    The “so what” factor here is huge.

  15. Demetrius
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the point Mark is making is that The Onion is journalism … I think the point he is trying to make is that, until now, their main “political” point was satire – making fun of everyone and everything equally.

    If they purposefully “sold out” to a particular candidate or political party (and I’m not claiming that), it would represent a serious departure from how people see and read their publication, and I think many would be interested to know about it.

    The Onion is not journalism. MarkMaynard.com is not journalism (although it occasionally performs a journalistic role). The Onion has a right to portray whoever they want however they want … and Mark has a right to ask questions – and even to speculate. And we all have a right to our own perceptions.

  16. Anonymatt
    Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    My own perception is that one shouldn’t call a trend based on a sample size of 1.

  17. Eel
    Posted February 19, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The Onion is still doing great work, even if they aren’t mentioning Hillary as much.


  18. Anonymatt
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Well, a new Hillary article is out and doesn’t appear positive, so that pretty much settles it:

  19. Peter Larson
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Who said anything about rights?

    Mark has a right to write blog posts. People have the right to make disparaging comments about said blog posts and the author himself. If those comments are left on the site and Mark doesn’t like them, he can delete them.

    What do rights have to do with anything?

  20. Jcp2
    Posted February 26, 2016 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    We make comments here because Mark has allowed us to do so, and they remain here so long as Mark allows them to remain. Interesting.

  21. anonymous
    Posted June 8, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink


  22. Chris
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    There is no trend toward a more pro-Hillary stance. Admit you were wrong.

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