Battle of figures between Mélenchon and Hanouna on the speaking time of the far right on “TPMP”

“I have no sympathy for you Hanouna.” It was on his YouTube channel, this Thursday, November 17, that Jean-Luc Mélenchon reacted in the Louis Boyard-Cyril Hanouna affair. It began on Thursday, November 10, when the young LFI deputy accused the boss of C8, Vincent Bolloré, of having “deforested Cameroon” and be part of “five richest people [qui] impoverish France and impoverish Africa”on the set of Do not touch My TV. Cyril Hanouna then took up the defense of the one he considers to be “his older brother” going so far as to copiously insult Louis Boyard, the show’s former columnist.

The leader of LFI took the opportunity to explain that if the rebellious go to the sets of C8, it is only “to carry [leur] speech” : “You have given 52% of the time to the far right. So when we come to you, we know that we are breaking into a platform favorable to the far right”he added.

Cyril Hanouna responded the next day on his set, explaining that Jean-Luc Mélenchon was one of the most invited political figures on his shows, with five participations against two for Eric Zemmour for example. And add that “C8 was not subject to any sanctions related to pluralism in 2022”.

Without commentary, a table summarizing the “speaking time TPMP» from January 1 to November 10, 2022 is also displayed on the screen. We learn that Renaissance and La France insoumise, with 23.72 and 18.99% respectively, would be the movements with the most speaking time on the show, just ahead of the National Rally (18.06%), and far ahead of Reconquest (11.55%). For a total of the extreme right bloc of just over 30% if we add Les Patriotes.

So where does the figure put forward by Jean-Luc Mélenchon come from? The speaking time quoted by the former candidate seems to correspond to that calculated by Claire Sécail, CNRS researcher who is particularly interested in the history of the media and more particularly in television.

In a study on the pre-election campaign (September to December 2021), the researcher noted an impressive overrepresentation of the speaking time granted to Eric Zemmour in the political airtime of TPMP. As detailed Release in February, the airtime devoted to the far-right candidate alone was almost as much as the other ten presumed candidates combined.

By carrying out, this time, an analysis by political bloc, the extreme right also came out on top (53%), followed by a long way by the government majority (less than a quarter). The left and the right “classic” found themselves, for their part, marginalized, dividing up the remaining airtime.

First of all, it should be noted that the way in which Mélenchon presents the figure can be confusing: the figure of 53% (and not 52%) corresponds to the proportion of the speech of the extreme right on the political airtime of Cyril Hanouna’s show, i.e. the segments where politicians affiliated with the candidates are present or mentioned, and not on the total airtime.

“Smooth” speaking times

In a more recent study, this time focusing on the campaign itself (period from January 1 to April 22, 2022), Claire Sécail noted “a strong persistent imbalance of treatment between the candidates of the 2022 presidential election”, and that the show had “widely favored far-right candidates and always in particular Eric Zemmour”.

There remains this notable difference of about 20% between the figures calculated by Claire Sécail and those given on the air by TPMP. Contacted by CheckNewsthe researcher immediately points out the period chosen by the program: “It’s quite bizarre that they take January to November 2022 as a reference period, since it does not correspond at all to the election period. Me in my studies, I was interested in the pre-election period, then in the election period.

Taking a period that goes well beyond the election, TPMP was thus able to “smooth” the speaking times, since one can for example legitimately imagine that the place granted to Eric Zemmour has greatly decreased since his electoral setbacks in the presidential and legislative elections.

I do not know how TPMP calculated these stats, but it’s probably taken from the stats the channel should send to the Arcom [chargée de veiller au respect du pluralisme des chaînes de TV, ndlr]continues the researcher. I don’t have quite the same methodology as what Arcom asks for (because I include political parody segments, for example) but my figures are generally quite close.

“The word of LFI is often counted on subjects put on the agenda by the far right”

The researcher notes in passing that “if Cyril Hanouna has his figures for all of 2022, that means he could give them from January to April, for the campaign”, but “that he doesn’t” as this would reveal the over-representation of certain candidates. The host of C8 had already done so when publishing the results of the researcher’s first study. He then put forward LFI speaking time figures for the month of January alone, not very representative because “inflated” by a special program with Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Moreover, the researcher notes that “this painting is only very moderately useful to Hanouna” since the far right remains the most represented bloc on its show, even over a period longer than just the election. This may explain why the host did not comment on it and preferred to dwell on the ranking of the show’s political guests.

Beyond this quantitative approach, the CNRS researcher insists on the qualitative aspect of her study, showing that the tone of the debates organized was more favorable to certain candidates, in particular Eric Zemmour.

“In the case of Reconquête, we were often in a performance register, and the set treated its themes favorably. Conversely, LFI’s voice is often discounted on subjects put on the agenda by the far right. Or when rebellious personalities are implicated in a controversy. Their word is then purely defensive. For Marine Le Pen it was a little different: quantitatively it was not very present, but the speech was generally very favorable, in the standardization. And for the researcher, the atmosphere has not necessarily changed since: “We saw it again recently, with Jordan Bardella who was welcomed in a very good atmosphere after his election as head of the RN.”

Contacted, the Canal + group has not yet responded to our request.

Battle of figures between Mélenchon and Hanouna on the speaking time of the far right on “TPMP”