On December 15, 2023, part of the French media landscape became passionate about an attack that occurred two months earlier, in Lyon: the beating of a teenage girl by two young girls of the same age. Why this sudden national interest, in a country which records, year after year, 2,000 victims of physical violence every day?

To understand, we must retrace the route of the video and add this circumstance: the attacker wore a hijab. The day before, an X account specializing in violent videos published images of the attack. The scene is taken up by a flagship account of the fascist sphere, Fdesouche, and by a Telegram channel of the radical far right. CNews, on its website, is the first media to mention it, the same evening.

During the night, a journalist from the magazine Valeurs Acteurs published initial information from a police source, relayed by Damien Rieu, an executive from the Reconquête! party, widely followed on social networks. From 9 a.m., on December 15, 2023, BFM-TV devotes a first subject to the news item and mobilizes special correspondents: the sequence, punctuated by several “news alerts” according to developments in the police investigation – quickly concluded –, will punctuate its antenna for two days. On

This episode followed the political reading of the death of young Thomas, killed in a village festival in Crépol (Drôme) in November 2023, and preceded the debates on the law relating to immigration presented by the government, two themes which will have largely dominated the media debates in December.

Le “Figaro” and BFM-TV, “welcoming” spaces

Since the campaign for the 2022 presidential election, the space given to news items, immigration and far-right voices in the French media has increased.

The theorists of the “cultural fight” led by the identity spheres openly welcome this, emphasizing the hospitality reserved for them outside of Vivendi, the media empire of Vincent Bolloré – CNews, C8, Europe 1, and now Paris Match and Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD). Le Figaro and the BFM-TV sets are now perceived, on the far right, as “welcoming” spaces.

Jean-Yves Le Gallou, “organic intellectual” of the identity movement, convinced that political victory is only possible on the condition of cultural victory, underlines the key role of Vincent Bolloré, “missing link” between the media confidential radicals and the general press: “She drinks like the others from competition and social networks. The JDD, CNews and Europe 1 have become transitional media, they impose reality and their guests on the mainstream media, which follow, in a frantic race for audiences, even if it means burning their fingers. »