- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I guess we’re living in a celebrity-obsessed culture.

Daytime talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, actors Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks, and basketball legends Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are among the A-list celebrities who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — at the White House this month.

Mr. De Niro has joked that he’d leave the country if Donald Trump won the presidency, so it’s unknown if he’ll show for the award. Italy had offered him asylum if he was serious.

Ms. DeGeneres was a Hillary Clinton supporter, having the former secretary of state several times on her show, where Mrs. Clinton famously did the “Nae Nae” dance.

The rest of the star-studded recipient list includes “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels, actor/director Robert Redford and singers Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross. Mr. Springsteen held a concert for Mrs. Clinton during her campaign’s final push.

“From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way,” President Obama said in a statement.

Individuals who received the award made significant contributions to “security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Other recipients include philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, actress Cicely Tyson and baseball broadcaster Vin Scully.

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