Listen to the radio and you might run across a segment that sounds something like a news report. A newsy music introduction plays as woman’s officious-sounding voice begins narrating a story. In a stilted delivery that appears to mimic that of a news anchor, the woman states, “In a move demonstrating the FBI’s valuable role of protecting national security, Director James Comey creates a separate Intelligence Branch…”

It turns out this isn’t a news report at all. And the “news anchor” is actually a public affairs specialist.

You might call the radio spot a faux news report brought to you by the FBI. It’s called “FBI This Week,” produced and distributed regularly on the radio, via podcasts and on the Internet along with three other FBI productions.

Is this a much-needed public service? Or self-serving propaganda? Are the segments masquerading as independent news reports? And just how many tax dollars are being spent on the FBI’s promotional efforts?

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