CNN’s Jim Bittermann Receives France’s Highest Honor

By Alissa Krinsky 

CNN Senior European Correspondent Jim Bittermann has received France’s highest decoration.

In a ceremony last night, the Paris-based Bittermann was made ‘Chevalier’ (knight) of the National Order of the Legion of Honor. His medal was awarded by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

“For the past 30 years,” Bittermann is quoted in a CNN press release, “I’ve been explaining France and the French to the rest of the world.”


“Founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize outstanding accomplishment,” the press release states, “the chevalier is given annually to around 3,500 Frenchmen and women — but few non-nationals….

“In the field of American television journalism, he joins Pierre Salinger from ABC, who received his honor in 1978. In this year’s Honor’s list, he is one of only two Americans, and of 13 foreigners, to be so honored.”

The internal memo from CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton, after the jump…

Jim Walton’s Note to Staff

July 1, 2009

Last night, CNN’s Jim Bittermann was made a Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest recognition of merit, in a ceremony presided over by the French Foreign Minister at the Foreign Ministry in Paris.

Jim was recognized for his nearly 30 years of reporting from France, as well as for his teaching and volunteer service within the French media industry.

Founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize outstanding accomplishment, the Legion of Honour is awarded annually to 3,500 French men and women and a very few non-nationals—13 this year, only two of them Americans. Jim joins the distinguished company of non-French recipients including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles and Norman Schwarzkopf.

We’re all proud of this unique tribute to our colleague.