If you think that French media are downplaying the extent of the actual violence and damage, you are right. Quite a bit of hard news is not being reported both by design and by the circumstances on the ground. State TV has already decided to stop repeating the number of cars burned every day and film crews (particularly white French film crews) are being chased from the suburbs after having their vehicles and equipment torched. The only journalists currently operating freely and without armed escort are from Algerian newspapers (El Watan has been cited as an example).
Callers on talk radio are starting to reveal what MSM is censuring: the racist, Islamist nature of the ongoing uprising.
State TV has already manipulated reports, albeit hamfistedly. The most notable example was the bait-and-switch reports about the handicapped woman doused with gasoline and burned by rioters. Every attempt was made to have viewers believe that race was not an issue.
The Socialist Mayor of Noisy le Grand, speaking on France Culture radio yesterday morning claimed that in his city women were dragged from their cars by their hair and, for all intense and purposes, stoned by rampaging youths (il a employé le terme "quasi lapidées" en fwançais). He also reported that molotov cocktails were thrown into people's homes. He then asked the Army to intervene. The host, somewhat shocked that a Socialist mayor would use such language on a live State radio broadcast, stammered for a few seconds. The reports have since slipped into a French media memory hole.
On a State TV France5 talk show, an Algerian writer living in Paris expressed shock at the scenes coming in from the suburbs where jellaba clad big brothers step in to calm youths and negotiate with police. He stated that such images reminded him of the happenings in Islamist neighborhoods of Algiers circa late 80s and early 90s. These images, very common in the first days of the riots, have now vanished from French TV screens which now favor scenes involving disenfranchised youths who repeat endlessly that they are victims of unemployment and racism.