CNews, Europe 1, JDD... How Bolloré uses the media to articulate politics and religion

CNews, Europe 1, JDD… How Bolloré uses the media to articulate politics and religion

TUESDAY JANUARY 16, 2024. The Élysée village hall is crowded for Emmanuel Macron’s press conference. Sitting in the front row, journalists from the Bolloré group form a unit. No fewer than six representatives from CNews, Europe 1, JDD …A show of force. On the menu of presidential announcements: the compulsory wearing of uniforms at school by 2026. “This idea has been supported for years on CNews by Éric Zemmour, in the show Faced with the information, recalls Isabelle Roberts, from the online newspaper Days . From 2019 to 2022, he had complete freedom to promote his political program in a widely watched media, like no other candidate for the Élysée before him. »

Why did Vincent Bolloré choose, before 2022, to put his CNews channel at the service of the journalist’s presidential ambitions? Both share the same political-religious agenda: Catholicism is the DNA of France and it is time to morally “rearmament” the country to react to the “threats” of a conquering Islam. And the mayonnaise sets. In the first round of the presidential election, 16% of practicing Catholics voted for Zemmour, compared to 7% of the population as a whole (according to an Ifop survey for The cross, carried out on April 10, 2022). By adding up the votes for Zemmour, Le Pen and Dupont-Aignan, the “hard” rights account for 40% of the practicing Catholic electorate.

Articulate politics and religion

“The concept of “great replacement” has a certain resonance, in particular among a section of young Catholics, analyzes Yann Raison du Cleuziou, lecturer in political science at the University of Bordeaux. They have the feeling that the religious dynamic today is on the side of Islam, even if it is not the majority. While the Church is often only referred to its own decline. »

This evolution of French Catholicism marries the designs of Vincent Bolloré who can push his advantage. As early as 2020, the Breton billionaire called on Aymeric Pourbaix, the director of Catholic France – one of the group’s weeklies -, to present the Sunday show In search of spirit on CNews. The program almost exclusively addresses topics related to Catholicism. Never before seen on a general continuous news channel! This choice is challenging while the “hard” right already has its eyes fixed on 2027. “What is certain is that Vincent Bolloré wants to articulate politics and religion,” confirms Yann Raison du Cleuziou. But be careful not to overinterpret his intentions. He is not only instrumental: he is convinced. »

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