Accuracy in Media

Business Insider ruins a generally detailed and accurate piece on the current movement inside Iran of women shunning head scarves in anti-hijab protests by a deceptive headline tying the protest movement to the abortion movement in the U.S. 

“Women in Iran are burning headscarves and cutting their hair in anti-hijab protests. They follow a long history of rising up for a woman’s right to choose,” says Business Insider in the article’s headline. 

While nowhere in the article does Business Insider mention abortion or reproductive rights, the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” has long been synonymous with the pro-abortion argument. 

In fact, that phrase was chosen by abortion activist Jimmye Kimmey in 1972 in a memorandum to colleagues at the Association for the Study of Abortion to take the spotlight off of the act of abortion and aim it rather on the rights of women to control their own bodies, according to Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel of Yale Law School in its history Before Roe. 

Since then, the movement has been remarkably consistent and successful in its branding, with the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” being synonymous with the pro-abortion position. 

When people read the phrase, no matter what side of the argument they are on, they read it as a pro-abortion sentiment.  

Clearly, Business Insider understood this when they co-opted the term for the headline.   

It’s unfortunate because Business Insider did a great job of explaining how prior to the Ayatollahs coming to power, women in Iran were some of the most highly-educated and modern citizens in the developing world and that Iranian women have staged effective protests in the past.

But the piece has considerably less power when someone reads it because they keep waiting for the abortion argument to come up.     

That Business Insider would try to tie the current movement in Iran to the pro-abortion movement in the U.S. likely has a few simple explanations. 

The Democrats really have a bare cupboard this mid-term season and are desperate to rally their base by tying anything they can to the abortion issue, even issues in other countries. 

The article was written by Business Insider’s “Voices of Color” reporter, who covers race and identity, a beat that indisputably is tied up in politics, unfortunately. The inclusion of the abortion theme is likely a virtue signal from liberals that Iranian women’s rights have “allyship” with the pro-abortionists in the U.S., as if conservatives don’t care about Iranian women.  

But what could be an equally powerful motivator is that news companies are struggling not just with shrinking digital advertising revenues, but also shrinking digital subscriptions. 

Both the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have said recently that digital subscriptions have “stalled” or are “stagnating.” 

As we noted Wednesday, newsrooms are not immune from the effects of President Joe Biden’s inflation and the stumbling economy. 

The economy has put pressure on editors to create more clickable headlines, with the too-common temptation to go from a clickable headline to a clickbait headline, which is likely the case here.  




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