CNN's Bittermann Awarded French Legion of Honor

Stop me if you've heard this one: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a biased CNN journalist walk into a bar...

CNN's Jim Bittermann has been admitted into the French Legion of Honor, one of just 13 foreign nationals, including two other Americans, "Howard Mamoian, a World War II paratrooper, and John Morris, a news photographer," is reporting.

Bittermann, who also teaches journalism courses at The American University of Paris, marveled in October at the "greatness" of the 2008 election in an op-ed in the French-language Libération newspaper (rough English translation via Google here, L'accent est le mien):

I always thought that the best place, and most reliable to draw conclusions about the United States was to be outside. When you live, it is so beset with misconceptions about what happens that is difficult to relativize. And I always thought that Paris was a privileged observation post because, first, many French know a lot of things about what is happening in America and then, sooner or later, anyone with a little importance to the United States eventually come here, either on an official visit or just to spend a week visiting the museums. Thus, well before the Democratic convention, I knew, from Paris, how the chances of Barack Obama were serious. And I am not a case of Madame Sun.


A few months ago, an Ifop poll showed that the word "greatness" is what the French more spontaneously associate with the United States. Without doubt, this campaign has been "great" in every sense. Was it always perfect? No. Also worthy? No. Always intelligent, distinguished, in the rules? No, no and no. But to be big, it was. More than any campaign I remember. The campaign lasted two years, with 40 debates, caucuses and the primary heated clashes in the 50 states.

I feel that after the elections, the campaign will be missed, to the Americans as the French. It's like the national championship baseball or football World Cup. You get used to the daily flow of information about the latest victories and defeats. This will not be as exciting as the next president is going to roll up his sleeves to solve all the problems he inherited. And they are endless. The United States are struggling at the edge of the abyss.Whether financial, geopolitical and social. Many things could go wrong, it is very important that these elections will go smoothly. But nobody can say that the choices were not clear on 4 November and that the campaign did not specifically address the problems. This time, the campaign has kept its promises. This time the Americans have their money.

Bittermann's biases have been catalogued by the Media Research Center previously. For instance, in April 2005, Bittermann followed the pack mentality of others in the media who used loaded language to describe newly-installed Pope Benedict XVI as a "strict fundamentalist" and hard-liner (emphasis mine):

On CNN, the MRC's Ken Shepherd noticed, minutes after the new Pope showed his face, Jim Bittermann fretted from Rome: "Well, it's hard for me to believe that there wasn't at least some controversy in the decision of Cardinal Ratzinger. I, it's amazing to me, because, for one thing, he's a curial cardinal, he's not a pastoral man. We heard from so many cardinals around the world, that the fact is they felt that a pastoral cardinal would have to fall into John Paul II's shoes. He is also a very strict fundamentalist, and we heard that in the speech that he delivered just as the conclave was beginning. He had the last word as the conclave began and basically said that the Church should stick to fundamentals, so I think that you can expect a pontificate that is going to be very hard-line indeed on doctrinal issues. He is, for instance, very much opposed to any kind of outreach to homosexuals who are practicing homosexuals. He's very much opposed to gay marriage. One of the things, he's sort of known as Cardinal No for some of his positions that he's taken, very hard-line positions. Would he moderate them as pope? Hard to say, but it is a really astounding choice and it does set a very clear path for the church I think we're going to see a church here that's going to going to go down a very clear line over the next few years..."

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