Counting demonstrators: is the Occurrence cabinet “macronist”, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon asserts? – Pension reform
The charge came from Jean-Luc Mélenchon on Twitter, on Saturday January 21, a few minutes after the end of the demonstration of youth organizations against the pension reform in Paris. In the crosshairs of the leader of rebellious France, the cabinet Occurrence, responsible for establishing a count of demonstrators for client media, such as Mediapart, Le Figaro or BFMTV, thanks to a semi-automatic system combining the use of a flow video, sensors and manual micro-recounts. His verdict: 14,000 participants. LFI, which came in support of youth organizations, announced more than ten times more, 150,000, earlier in the afternoon.
Tweets that resurface
For Jean-Luc Mélenchon, no doubt, the figure brandished by Occurrence comes from a “manipulative macronist agency”, he writes on the social network.
The manipulative macronist agency “occurence” ridiculed by all the specialists, after having taken the wrong street, we would be 14045 to parade this January 21. But no jokes! We were 3.5!! As many as you to count. #March21January
— Jean-Luc Melenchon (@JLMelenchon) January 21, 2023
Occurrence is regularly attacked by rebellious France. The movement believes that it is not as independent as hoped by the media, which have been using its services since March 2018, in order to benefit from a figure less questionable than those provided by the organizers of demonstrations and the ministry. inside. In this case, on Saturday January 21, a police source told Agence France Presse (AFP) that 12,000 people were present.
In March 2018, the rebellious deputy Manuel Bompard had thus examined the Twitter account of the president and creator of Occurrence, Assaël Adary, and claimed to have found there “several retweets of congratulations from the government and even a message of congratulations to a new deputy from the République en Marche” in July 2017.
Other tweets from Assaël Adary resurface regularly, including one in response to (future) LREM MP Aurore Bergé, in May 2017: “Aurore: at your disposal to help you! My network, my skills… and a certain idea of “We don’t whistle, we fight!” “”. Contacted by Le Télégramme, Assaël Adary “assumes this tweet very well, because we never contextualize it: I am president of the alumni (former students) Celsa Paris Sorbonne, I thought that she was also a former student and she was attacked by Jean -Frédéric Poisson (one of his supporters in reality, and whose tweet is no longer visible, editor’s note), who insulted him with the most abject misogyny…”. Note that Aurore Bergé had clarified to our colleagues from franceinfo, in 2019, that she had never done the Celsa: “I did Sciences Po Paris, (Assaël Adary) must have been confused”.
Aurore: at your disposal to help you! My network, my skills …and a certain idea of the policy “we don’t whistle we fight!”
— Assael Adary (@AssaelAdary) May 13, 2017
Other messages have also been exhumed by the Insoumis, in particular that of the former general manager of Occurrence, Céline Mas. On the evening of Emmanuel Macron’s victory, in May 2017, she tweeted: “Energy & hope of a Democratic and Republican President, for Europe and the unity of the French. Boldness more than ever to invent tomorrow”.
Energy & hope of a Democratic and Republican President, for Europe and the unity of the French people. Boldness more than ever to invent tomorrow. https://t.co/PClFMYFejq
— Celine Mas (@Ohlivres) May 7, 2017
For Assaël Adary, nothing abnormal: “In all businesses, people have the right to have opinions. There are 30 employees at Occurrence, I think some are RN, LFI…”. The president of the firm also specifies that Céline Mas has left her company “since the summer of 2019”.
New criticisms after the takeover by Ifop
Since its takeover by the Ifop polling institute in April 2022, the Occurrence firm has come under new criticism for its independence. The Insoumis regularly recall that Ifop won, in 2019, one of the big prizes of the call for tenders “Services of opinion surveys and analyzes” from the Government Information Service, attached to Matignon, alongside five competitors. Amount of the check: up to €4 million, quantified the magazine Capital, taking up information from Letter A. “This criticism of our independence had arisen long before (the entry of Ifop into the capital of Occurrence) , even when 100% of the capital belonged to me… Ifop is a trusted third party, all the media call on it,” defends Assaël Adary.
The opinion director general of the Ifop group, Frédéric Dabi, also flew to his rescue on Saturday, by responding to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, still on Twitter: “Occurrence which is part of the Ifop group has as always acquitted itself of the count demonstrators with rigor and professionalism. Please try to argue without slandering. Your remarks are not worthy of a triple candidate in the presidential election”.
@JLMelenchon : Occurrence, which is part of the Ifop group, has as always carried out the counting of demonstrators with rigor and professionalism.
Please try to argue without slandering. Your remarks are not worthy of a triple candidate in the presidential election.
— Frederic Dabi (@FredericDabi) January 21, 2023
The president of Occurrence hoped that “working for 20 different media, of all trends, from Mediapart, via Le Figaro and BFM, would be the guarantor of our independence. But when I say it, I am reminded of the figure that I work for three billionaires and when I mention franceinfo, they answer me “Ah, ah, france intox, the government what…””
Occurrence has he “taken the wrong street”?
In addition to the trial for lack of independence, Jean-Luc Mélenchon proposed another incompetence, indicating that Occurrence would have been “ridiculed by all the specialists, after being in the wrong street”. On this point, Assaël Adary believes that this message can refer to an article from franceinfo, reporting on the march organized last October, at the call of the Nupes against the high cost of living and climate inaction?. An article in which an address error had slipped which gave rise to an erratum: “A first version of this article erroneously indicated that the Occurrence counting point was located at 132, boulevard Voltaire, in Paris, outside the route of the procession. It was 204, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine”. But Jean-Mélenchon’s criticism could find its source elsewhere: “Initially, I thought he was talking about the demonstration last Thursday for which an alternate route had been opened for some of the demonstrators, which did not allow us to give a number. But there again, we did not take the wrong street”, argues the president of Occurrence.
As for the figure of 14,000 demonstrators calculated on Saturday January 21, Assaël Adary notes that it was corroborated by a recount carried out the following day by himself and a collaborator, by analyzing a video which flew over the procession and was broadcast on Youtube.
1/2 Beyond the invectives, let’s get back to the facts, the figures:
1. a demonstrator filmed the whole procession yesterday: let’s count together manually, frame by frame. Chick!https://t.co/qGLf5ZaxUg
— Occurrence (@enlOccurrence) January 22, 2023
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