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At the Assises du journalisme, a look back at the media treatment of the presidential election


A journalist partner of the 6th Viavoice/Assises du journalisme Barometer (1) confessed ” surprised ” discovering that a majority of French people (57%) ultimately considered ” enough ” (49%) or ” very good “ (8%) the “quality of information” issued during the presidential campaign. With the notable exception of supporters of Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour.

→ CONTEXT. Before the presidential election, the demand for independence from the media at the highest

These people surveyed online (1) got their information from television (75%), radio (38%), the press (37%), the Internet (33%) or via ” their entourage “ (23%, a rate that rises to 41% among 18/24 year olds, and 30% among supporters of Marine Le Pen). The work of journalists during this period seemed useful to them (53%) to know the programs (56%) or the candidates (52%), not to decide for whom to vote (31%).

Suspicion of endogamy

Their view is much more severe on the neutrality of journalists, six out of ten (61%) judging that the media do not treat political figures in the same way depending on the political side to which they belong. And a minority (47%) have confidence in information dealing with political life, against respectively 82%, 81% and 66% for that on culture, sport or social issues.

→ READ. Isabelle Veyrat-Masson: “Information generates more dissatisfaction when it aims for neutrality”

This distrust of political journalism, suspected of endogamy with the political world, provoked a strong reaction from Nathalie Saint Cricq, the head of the political department of France 2, who challenged sports and cultural journalists on their own practices.

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External glances

During another round table, representatives of the foreign press nevertheless drove the point home. “When I arrived in France, I was struck by the almost friendly proximity between journalists and politicians”recalled Ana Navarro Pedro, correspondent for the Portuguese weekly visaowhere editors often change topics.

Marc Bassets of the Spanish daily El País wondered if this supposed self-segregation had not led a more popular audience to turn to shows from“infotainment” (mixing information and entertainment) like those of Cyril Hanouna on C8.

The German Nadia Pantel has been “shocked” that the polemicist Éric Zemmour could have a program on Cnews, where he dissected every day “the news of the day through the prism of immigration, Islam and crime”and that this leads him to present his candidacy. “We went from all-Zemmour to all-Mélenchon”reacted her Portuguese colleague for whom this search for “ show “ tends to ” phagocytize » democratic debate. Usually very critical of the media, supporters of La France insoumise say they are in any case satisfied (59%) with the coverage of this presidential election, according to Viavoice.

From cash to clash

“The turn taken by the search for clash desacralizes the political thing”estimated Cléa Chakraverty, journalist at The Conversation, in a panel discussion on the role played by television in the campaign. Philippe Corbé, head of the political service at BFM-TV, took charge of the debate organized on September 23, 2021 between Éric Zemmour and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who according to him “planted seeds that had an effect months later”.

→ READ. Presidential 2022: why the televised debate is not as decisive as we think

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This debate was organized “in a logic of audience” tried to get him to admit Laurent Guimier, the news director of France Télévisions. This one assumed not to have done “no more room in Zemmour”, as long as he was not officially a candidate. The writing of The Obslike others, followed the same line.

Did this campaign finally interest the French? The editor-in-chief of L’Obs, Nolwenn Leblevennec, confided that the site’s audiences had been disappointing throughout the campaign. A finding that radio France Info, where the journalist Frédéric Carbonne multiplied the 12-14 “relocated”, did not make, nor the video media Brut, very popular among the youngest.

New media

This presidential campaign had the particularity of having taken place a lot on interactive media such as Twitch: the media Blast and the association L’Affaire du siècle for example questioned the candidates at length on the environment. France Télévisions journalist Samuel Étienne and other streamers also commented live on the debate between the two towers.

Finally, most of the media present at the Assizes testified to a difficult campaign in the wake of the health crisis, then the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, weighed down by the absence of the outgoing president in the debates of the first round.

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