Quoting the President of the United States:

"For nearly 30 years, the proceedings of the House of Representatives have been televised -- unfiltered, uninterrupted, unedited, and live. For this we can thank the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, or C-SPAN. And for C-SPAN, we can thank a visionary American named Brian Lamb.

"C-SPAN is not what you'd call exciting TV -- (laughter) -- though some of the call-in shows do have their moments. (Laughter.) It is, however, a tool that enlivens democracy, and informs and educates citizens of all ages -- at all hours.

"C-SPAN channels fill 17,000 broadcast hours a year. But you can watch for years and never hear anyone say the name Brian Lamb. Even Brian never says it.

"With his low-key manner, this native of Lafayette, Indiana likes to stick with substance. He's not there to provide commentary, or give much reaction either way. Yet vast numbers of Americans consider themselves fans of Brian Lamb. A writer from The Washington Post called it a "cult of non-personality." (Laughter.) The truth is, we've all seen him, and he's conducted some of the most fascinating interviews we have ever heard. As one C-SPAN watcher said, when you listen to Brian "You feel like he's just like you, only smarter." (Laughter.)

"Brian Lamb has spent most of his life in broadcasting, in a career that has taken many turns. The first program he ever hosted, back in the Midwest, was called "Dance Date," -- a side we haven't seen much of. (Laughter.) Brian Lamb is a Navy veteran; a former social aide here at the White House. In fact, when Brian was here a few months ago to interview a historian in the Lincoln Bedroom, the maitre d' of the residential staff of the White House remembered him from those days.

"The network Brian Lamb created has been called "scrupulously nonpartisan, [and] inherently patient." Committee hearings, and campaign events, and conferences, and rallies are shown from beginning to end, without editorial comment or interpretation. C-SPAN has no agenda, and only one assumption: that interested viewers are intelligent, and can make up their own minds about what they see and what they hear.

"An informed citizenry has been the strength of America since the days of the New England town hall. C-SPAN has revived the town-hall spirit for a modern, continental nation. For his enormous achievement and his personal modesty; for his high standards, and his contribution to our democracy, America is grateful to Mr. Brian Lamb. (Applause.)"

The Presidential Medal of Freedom citation reads:

"Brian P. Lamb. As the driving force behind the creation of C-SPAN, Brian Lamb has elevated our public debate and helped open up our government to citizens across the nation. His dedication to a transparent political system and to the free flow of ideas has enriched our civic life. He has helped empower Americans to know and understand their government and hold it accountable. The United States honors Brian Lamb for his efforts to ensure that his fellow citizens are well-informed participants in the American system of self-government through reflection and choice."

My thoughts: Amen.

Transcript from the ceremony via the White House website in full here.