Take the recent hyper-ventilation by both the media and politicians accusing the Gadhafi regime of engaging in mass rape of women. MediaLens uncovers that the claim is without foundation.
"In the Independent on June 24, Patrick Cockburn reported a vital development countering official propaganda on Libya:
'Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato's war in Libya.
'Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.'
Amnesty and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have checked the claims and found flat zero evidence.
And yet, earlier this month, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, told a press conference: 'we have information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government. Apparently he [Colonel Gaddafi] used it to punish people'.
Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was 'deeply concerned' about reports of widespread rape in Libya by Gaddafi's forces.
By contrast, Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty, who spent three months in Libya after the start of the uprising in February, said: 'we have not found any evidence or a single victim of rape or a doctor who knew about somebody being raped'.
Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women's rights at HRW, said of the rape claims: 'We have not been able to find evidence.'
The Amnesty investigation also found no evidence of mercenaries fighting for Gaddafi. Rovera commented:
'Those shown to journalists as foreign mercenaries were later quietly released. Most were sub-Saharan migrants working in Libya without documents.'
And what about the massacres? Cockburn writes:
'During the first days of the uprising in eastern Libya, security forces shot and killed demonstrators and people attending their funerals, but there is no proof of mass killing of civilians on the scale of Syria or Yemen.'
Not quite the impression given by the flood of media propaganda.
Cockburn followed up his June 24 piece with another excellent report on June 26: 'Don't believe everything you see and read about Gaddafi.'
At time of writing, there has been a single low-profile response to Cockburn's reports in Roy Greenslade's Guardian blog.
Greenslade quoted Cockburn, adding only that these findings of course do not mean that Gaddafi's forces have not committed crimes.
There have been no other mentions in the UK media that we can find of this credible information challenging key claims justifying the war on Libya.
But shouldn't a media system that so eagerly advanced these claims against the latest target of Western violence be equally willing to publicise counter-evidence?"
Continue reading here.