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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I accept this nomination for president of the united states of America.
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AMANPOUR: From Joe Biden all the way back to FDR.
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FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You have nominated me, and I know it. And I am here to thank you for the honor.
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AMANPOUR: We put this week’s Democratic Convention into context with the esteemed presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHANEL MILLER, ARTIST AND AUTHOR: My name is Chanel Miller and I am an artist.
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AMANPOUR: Know her name. Chanel Miller on how her lifelong passion, drawing, helps process the trauma of sexual assault.
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JONAH BERGER, THE WHARTON SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: When we know or think someone is trying to persuade us, our defenses go up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Marketing professor Jonah Berger tells us our Hari Sreenivasan the secret to changing someone’s mind.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in London.
Donald Trump and his party are just days away from making their case to the American people with the Republican National Convention slated to begin on
Monday. The Democrats might be taking a breather this weekend after wrapping up the first ever virtual convention. It saw the first woman of
color to accept the nomination for vice president. That’s Kamala Harris, of course. And accepting his nomination, Joe Biden characterized November’s
presidential election as a choice between dark and light.
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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: American history tells us that it’s been in our darkest moments that we’ve made our greatest progress, that we
found the light. In this dark moment, I believe we’re poised to make great progress again, that we can find the light once more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, this year’s event has, of course, been called historic, and it was certainly different from past conventions with their haggling over
nominees and even all-out riots outside the meeting hall. Doris Kearns Goodwin is perhaps the nation’s best-known presidential historian, who has
for decades studied the highest office in the land, including up close as a young aide to Lyndon Johnson. She recently wrote the book, “Leadership in
Turbulent times” and she’s joining me now from Boston.
Welcome to the program, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Welcome back.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, AUTHOR, “LEADERSHIP IN TURBULENT TIMES”: I’m so glad to be here to talk to you about history.
AMANPOUR: We’ve had you on many times talking about important things. Yes. Well, tell me, how does this fit into your extensive and exhausted study of
conventions and presidents?
GOODWIN: Well, what makes a convention historic is if it leads to action. You know, the words matter, but the question is does it mobilize people to
act? Does it bring more people to the polls? Does it make some people who are on the side go over to your side? And does sometimes it do something
that makes historic action take place?
And that’s why your clip of FDR is perfect, because what he’s saying is — it’s so much fun what he’s saying, you know, I’m here to accept your
nomination and I know it.
What he means by that is prior to his coming to that convention in person, most presidents just waited at home to be told six weeks later, notified,
that they actually had become president, then they would have a little ceremony and they would give what they call their notification speech. He
broke that tradition because he felt no time for that absurd old tradition. But then what he does, of course, is to pledge a new deal.
And the new deal becomes something that’s real. In 100 days, it changes the course of the country. Puts millions of people to work, regulates the stock
market, eventually has Social Security in a safety net. So, that’s the way you judge whether history regards what you say and what you do at a
convention, does it change the course of action? And only time will tell that.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just play the new deal clip from FDR.
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FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. Give me your help not to win votes alone but
to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Doris, you know, you’ve just, you know, laid out how that led to transformative change. Was it obvious at the time that it would? Because,
certainly, all of us who have watched conventions, you know, in the modern era, you know, we’re used to all these promises being made and these bold
declarations and themes and all the rest of it, and not all of them, you know, become policy. So, I guess, you know, just tell me how often a
convention actually does lead to transformation.
GOODWIN: Well, it really depends on the time of the moment. I mean, we were in a crisis, obviously, in 1932. Hoover, the previous president, had
not believe that the federal government had any responsibility to help with the crisis. And even as governor, Roosevelt had started taking action,
unemployment insurance, putting people to work. And his main scene of what he was talking about at the convention and then at his inauguration was,
leadership has failed us.
But even more important than that, he called Congress to an emergency session right in that inauguration and they come to fix the banking crisis
and then they’re supposed to go home, but they fix it and he feels, this is getting a little momentum.
So, it’s step by step in terms of the answer to your question. They didn’t know this whole thing would happen. He keeps them in session, and that
becomes the 100 days, and a lot of bipartisan legislation takes place that does become historic.
So, I don’t think you know at the time, but he was making the right argument that leadership had failed, people felt that. He wins hugely and
he’s got that majority to bring to bear on changing the relationship between the government and the people, which is really what the new deal
Never would there been a safety net before, never had they gotten involved in helping people to work, never had they regulated the stock market or
provided guaranteed deposits for people who had houses, saving people who were on relief. It was a whole new way of thinking about government and
making him responsible as president for doing these things. He took willingly that responsibility. He wanted it.
AMANPOUR: Well, it seems that Joe Biden is saying the same thing. He certainly name checked FDR in his acceptance speech, and he and many people
have said how traumatic and, you know, disruptive a time we’re living in right now. Here’s a little bit of what Joe Biden said.
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BIDEN: And now, history has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced. Four, four historic crises all at the same
time, a perfect storm, the worst pandemic in over 100 years, the worst economic crisis since the great depression, the most compelling call for
racial justice since the ’60s and the undeniable realities and just the accelerating threats of climate change. So, the question for us is simple.
Are we ready? I believe we are. We must be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, again, he appealed directly for that kind of transformative change that FDR did. Of course, Joe Biden is a 77-year-old gentleman, he’s
white male, he’s, you know, what many people might think might not be the man for the moment, and yet, he seems to have landed in what is really his
sweet spot at a moment of incredible trauma in the U.S. and around the world. How does he match the moment in your view compared to, you know, all
the things you’ve studied and written about?
GOODWIN: Well, I think there’s two ways that he matches the moment, and I think that’s what the convention succeeded in doing, not only his speech,
but the whole way they ran it, redefining him for a lot of people who haven’t really thought about what he is.
I mean, number one, there is a certain set of qualities that he has that leaders in crisis have to have. They’re magnified in times of crisis. They
showed empathy, they showed resilience. In fact, he made a direct connection between the virus and the paralysis that polio had given to FDR
and all the different problems and adversities hugely that he’s been through. So, he comes back from that and gives you an optimism that you can
bring the country back at the same time.
Humility has been shown besides the resilience and ambition that’s bigger not for self but for something, for our greater good. And trust in my word,
that was over and over again the way people could promise. So, that’s one thing, maybe these qualities that allowed him to help fix a broken family
might help him fix a broken country.
But also, because he’s 77, because he’s been in power for such a long time, he was there when the Congress was able to make compromises to do things
and get things done on a bipartisan basis. And that may seem like old nostalgia, but if these outside protest groups are going to be able to do
what the civil rights movement did in the ’60s, you need the outside power pushing always.
Every change comes from the ground up, but you need levels of power inside that can translate those desires into policy, and that’s what we saw so
brilliantly with the relationship between Martin Luther King and LBJ, that outside pressure, especially at Selma, which we saw John Lewis in these
last months and celebrated. But inside, was that southerner in the White House who knew the Congress, knew how to pressure it, knew how to get it
And that’s the promise, maybe, that a 77-year-old who lived in a very different time when Congress was a different animal before it became this
polarized thing might be able to use his skills to get that economic Recovery Act through, to run that Recovery Act.
And I think that’s what we saw last night, was the fact that maybe the very thing that has seemed his problem, his age and having been there for a very
long time, at this point in history, the experience and the commitment and the ability to get other people to get together, that unifying spirit, that
optimism may be the right thing to connect to all that energy that’s on the outside right now.
AMANPOUR: It’s really interesting, because he talks of himself also as a bridge. I mean, he — you know, also the word transition has been bandied
around. But you’re talking about bridging these two powers from the street and in terms of executive and legislative power. I think that’s really
So, I want to ask you this. A lot of people, not just president Trump and his party, but Democrats were very concerned about not being able to
campaign as usual. You know, being sort of a front porch campaigner. Do you think that it’s actually weirdly worked for him? And put that in context,
because, you know, there were previous candidates who did just that, right?
GOODWIN: Correct. The expectations for what a president should do during a campaign have shifted hugely over time. I mean, in Lincoln’s time, there
were never supposed to be anywhere on the campaign trail. They were supposed to be at home. He stayed in Springfield, and surrogates would be
out there campaigning for him.
Then finally, Garfield and then most celebratory ways. McKinley had a front porch campaign. 750,000 people came from all over the country in trains and
they would come to his lawn. He would come to the front porch, he would say something, and they would go away, taking blades of grass and his porch
away from him, but it worked.
And then after a while, expectations changed again. As I’ve said, FDR comes to his first convention and he begins to campaign more out in the open. And
then, now, they’re changed again because of COVID, and the question will be, do we expect a president to go into crowds and to potentially endanger
the safety of the people, or are we going to expect him to find settings where he can talk more like conversationally to people?
He’s going to have to talk a lot, he’s going to have to go different places, but do there need to be crowds? That will depend on whether he can
persuade people that the safety — and whether people feel it — of keeping themselves safe during the virus will have this campaign be a more virtual
What made it worked at the convention is that it did seem like one long conversation, like they were in living rooms, and that’s what FDR did.
People said, you felt he was talking to you when you were in your kitchen or your radio, you know, and you could hear him everywhere. And that’s what
we became accustomed to with the new innovation of radio.
So, now, we’ve got this virus, we have to technologically adapt to it, and so far, it’s worked. But we’ll see what happens in the campaign, but the
expectations have already changed. So, that’s a lucky thing for him.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you in that case about, you know, the historic nature of the technology that creates these changes. So, FDR mastered radio
in the way you’ve described and the way now we know and we remember, but so, too, in very, very bad ways did Stalin and Hitler.
They mastered radio. That was their big skill in reaching the masses. You know, you’re saying that Joe Biden essentially mastered the intimacy of the
so-called Zoom convention. What about president Trump who has mastered today’s dominant technology, which is, well, TV but social media? You know,
these mediums can work every which way.
GOODWIN: Yes. You know, when you think about it, you’re right, FDR mastered radio, and then you could argue that JFK and Reagan mastered
television and then there was cable television and the polarized media and the social media developed. And it is true that President Trump has
The problem with the instantaneous nature of tweets, though, is that there’s not time to think and things can be said that have to be unsaid,
things that were true or not true have to be changed around. You know, Lincoln was a great extemporaneous speaker.
When he was in those debates with Douglas, he could speak right away. He could have this easily, could have done the tweets. At one point, somebody
yells at him, Lincoln, you’re two-faced, and his immediate response was, if I have two faces, do you think I would be wearing this face?
But once he became president, he never wanted to speak extemporaneously. Even when the unions would win a battle and they come to serenade him at
the White House, he would just thank the soldiers and he would sing songs and say he would speak when he was prepared. He said, the words of a
president matter. They have to be prepared.
And FDR would spend three or four days preparing those fireside chats. He’d go over 10 or 12 drafts because the words matter, words last. You have to
trust the bond in your word. And the whole world of instant talking today and tweeting is completely the opposite of that. And it makes it much
harder to get a national message, to get your bond and your trust and your word. And so, it is the modern media, but I think it’s gotten a lot of
people in difficulty and it makes it much harder to be a presidential leadership with a fixed plan and a trust in his word.
AMANPOUR: And much harder to get the public square, which is necessary, you know, to safeguard democracy, I guess.
Can I ask you a question about — we’ve talked about presidents. What about first ladies? Michelle Obama, by all accounts and all the reviews,
essentially — what’s the metaphor — kicked it out of the park, hit it out of the park? She did incredibly well.
GOODWIN: You got it.
AMANPOUR: But quite — but it’s unusual, isn’t it, for first ladies to be that direct, I mean, and consequential, politically, culturally, socially,
in their speeches?
GOODWIN: Well, it certainly is in recent modern times, but think about Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1940, she becomes the first, first lady to ever go
before a convention in a very consequential time. What happened is Hitler had already conquered most of Europe and England is standing alone, and FDR
is facing the decision of whether I do a third term or not, an unpresented thing to have a third term.
And he was going to stand for a third term, but he didn’t really want to be there at the convention, because he wanted to seem like he was being
drafted so that the third term would not seem as if he was seeking it.
So, he didn’t go to the convention and then he had a vice presidential choice and Henry Wallace at the convention didn’t like. And so, people are
booing and then things gotten out of control. He sends Eleanor to the convention to calm things down. And she gets up there in a time of real
turmoil and she says, this is no ordinary time.
The president would love to be here with us but he has to spend every hour on the war, and he has made this choice of this vice president and he has
so many things to think about in this time. Know that he’s doing it for the country and I hope you respect it. It quieted the boos down, they got the
vice-presidential nomination through, and then he had to thank her when it was over, that she really saved the situation.
So, history has these ways of reminding us that. But between Eleanor and Michelle, there’s probably been no one as consequential than these two
first ladies at a time of turbulence when they both spoke at conventions.
AMANPOUR: Amazing. And here is another woman we’re going to speak about who just made history by being chosen as the first woman of color as a vice
presidential candidate. Kamala Harris, when she accepted, she talked about standing on the shoulders of women before her, but not just the women we
know of and the names we always know, but the women who we don’t often know about who are not often taught in history. Just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: These women inspired us to pick up the torch and fight on. Women like Mary Church Terrell, Mary
McLeod Bethune and fannie Lou Hamer and Diane Nash, Constance Baker Motley and the great Shirley Chisholm. We’re not often taught their stories, but
as Americans we all stand on their shoulders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And, of course, she’s talking about all the African-American women who were so front and center in the beginning of the women’s movement
and yet, who got the right to vote so much later than white women. Just tell us about that history, and it’s just not taught in schools as much as
it should be.
GOODWIN: Yes, I think we’re at a turning point there, and I think curriculums in schools and new, young professors coming along, women’s
history has become an established part now of many universities. I think black women’s history, black history itself will be much more. It’s a great
thing to be recapturing people whose struggles have been lost.
Even as we’ve told the women’s suffrage story, when its first told, it’s the white women who are marching and they get the vote in 1920. But then
the problem is, what happened to black women in that? Because originally, the abolitionists and the women were together. Well, when the abolitionists
were able to get the vote in the 14th Amendment, they hadn’t included women. So, this created a split in the women’s movement.
But finally, in 1965, with the Great Voting Rights Act after the Selma demonstrations, when that vote comes, black women get the vote. But I think
it’s speaking to the larger issue of how we’re discussing racial justice today, and I think it’s very important for us to remember the struggles,
because every change happens from the bottom up. We tend to study history from the top down. My guys, those presidents that I’ve studied. But I’m so
happy that this younger generation now is looking at history in a different way.
Even Lincoln would say, don’t call me a liberator, it was the antislavery movement and the union soldiers that did it all. It’s the civil rights
movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, and all of these are becoming subjects of study now so that we’re balancing the leaders at
the top who need to be there for the levers of power or at the top, governors, mayors, wherever you are, with the power from the outside that’s
really grounding the change, and were happening right now with the black lives movement. And changing consciousness, and then you need that change
to come content wise with people in power, or they need to get people in power themselves.
AMANPOUR: Yes. It’s such an extraordinary moment. Thank you so much for your historical perspective, Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Now, for some, the struggle of just plain speaking is a challenge, which is why the residual and the courage of two who addressed the convention was
standout moments. Former Arizona congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head at a public appearance nine years ago, spoke about the
long road to finding her voice again after suffering severe brain injuries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: Words once came easily. Today, I struggle to speak. But I have not lost my voice. America needs all
of us to speak out even when you have to fight to find the words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And 13-year-old, Braden Harrington, spoke about the pain and self-consciousness of having a speech impediment. And his pride after Joe
Biden himself encouraged him to overcome it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRADEN HARRINGTON, 13-YEAR-OLD-BOY BIDEN MET IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: About a few months ago I met him in New Hampshire. He told me that we were members of
the same club. We stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice president. He told me about a book of poems by Yates, he
would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud. So, I did the same thing today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That kind of grit knows no boundaries. Even President Trump’s key aide, Kellyanne Conway tweeted, way to go Braden.
My next guest has also been on a long journey to find her voice again. The world first knew Chanel Miller as Emily Doe when her anonymous victim
impact statement about suffering a brutal sexual assault went vital in 2016.
Last year, she revealed her identity, publishing an award-winning memoir called “Know My Name.” As well as a talented writer, Miller, is an artist
and an illustrator, skills that she’s been using since childhood to process her emotions, her trauma and her healing. Her biggest work yet is currently
on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, a 75-foot long mural called “I was, I am, I will be.” And Chanel Miller joins me from New York.
Welcome to the program, Chanel Miller.
What an amazing accomplishment to have this incredible exhibition, this mural on the wall of the museum. Just tell me how it feels to have a public
recognition of your art right now.
CHANEL MILLER, ARTIST AND AUTHOR: Well, it’s been wonderful because the last five years of my life were really focused on shrinking and maintaining
anonymity. And now, I finally shifted to the phase of total expansion and visibility.
And I think the most wonderful part is that when a survivor services with their story, most people want to hear exclusively about those details of
the case of the assault, and I think Asian American Museum approached me said, what else? You know, we’ll give you this huge blank wall, and they
asked me to fill it with anything that came to my mind. So, they were asking me to expand on my story and tell them about the other parts of me
that I had to offer.
AMANPOUR: Chanel, tell me about those figures. I mean, you know, you can pretty much guess what “I was, I am, I will be” represented, but just tell
me how they were born from your pencil.
MILLER: I think about them as three interchangeable phases. I never think about healing as linear. I don’t think we can ever arrive anywhere. I know
that no matter how successful I become or how healthy I am, there are still days where you will find me in the “I was” phase, revisiting the past or
temporarily stuck in it, stuck in our inclined state.
And so, I honor the fact that I live with sadness and that I’m OK being revisited by sadness, especially when I hear other survivor stories and
that I don’t intend to eradicate those difficult feeling, to eradicate the anger, but instead to incorporate them into my life.
AMANPOUR: I just want to read part of your artist’s statement for this exhibition. I make art to take up space, to counter the smallness I felt,
to inspire playfulness and restoration. Visibility is an act of defiance. Creation is an act of survival. It’s really very powerful what you’re
saying, especially when we know what you’ve survived and how you emerged from, as you say, what happened to you five years ago and trying to hide
away from it the best you can. Tell me about how it’s making you visible now.
MILLER: Well, I wanted to go back to a place like that courtroom which was completely lacking when it came to any art. The walls were blank and it was
a habitat where I wasn’t being nourished. And for a while, I believed that that was reality, that that was my world, and that there was nothing else.
I would forget that there is an outside world full of color, full of incredible images. And so, the fact that I get to now contribute beauty to
the world means a lot to me.
And again, just being given the opportunity to continue to show other people who I am and not be boxed in by a single story, because survivors
are so much beyond the single story that you might see. And so, I think we have to allow the space for them to give voice to those stories.
AMANPOUR: And part of your story is so delightful in that as a kid, your mother allowed you to paint all over the walls of your home. And even as a
kid, painting, drawing, designing was a way, I think you’ve said, to deal with whatever emotions you were dealing with on a — practically on a daily
MILLER: Yes, my parents allowed my sister and I to draw all over the walls of our bedrooms, in the bathroom. So, I affiliated drawing with freedom.
You know, there was no punishment, and I liked that they cherished creativity and self-expression over material things. And plus, they also
understood that everything is temporary, that even if you should make a mark that, if needed, you can always paint it over, but at least first give
your kids space to let their minds breathe.
And so, drawing for me has always been about expanding beyond my physical self, which is small — not that small, I’m 5’8″, but I still don’t carry
myself very loudly through the world, so to have these greater extensions of myself is a really wonderful feeling.
AMANPOUR: Just let me read a little bit from your book, your memoir, “Know My Name.” You wrote, on September 4, 2019, my name and photo were released.
My friend Mel texted me happy birthday, because that’s what it felt like, being born into the world.
So, almost a year later now, how are you feeling, and particularly because everybody — I mean, it was viewed tens of millions of times, the victim
statement that you delivered so courageously in the court during the sentencing phase of the person who assaulted you. How are you feeling now?
Because a lot of people like to think, well, OK, time has passed, now you’ve done all this stuff, it must be healing, you must be done.
MILLER: Yes. I mean, one wonderful thing that has happened in the last year is that even when I was anonymous and I would get requests for
interviews, I felt so angry because I did not trust people to ask me questions.
I thought the world was coming at me from a point of interrogation, I thought there would be manipulation involved, and I never trusted the
intention behind the question. And now, over the course of a year and doing over 100 interviews, I’ve learned that people genuinely ask questions
because they want to know who I am and what I have to say.
And so, reestablishing that trust and my connection to the world has been really important to me. I’ve been stunned by the warmth of other people. I
think even if things are difficult sometimes, I know there are people out there who are taking care of me and rooting for me. And so, it encourages
me to continue to take care of myself and continue asking myself what else I can do.
AMANPOUR: And I guess I immediately think, when you say there are people who are taking care of me, thinking of me, helping me, you clearly — you
know, these two Swedish men who saw what was happening to you came at least to your rescue, as they could, and separated this man from assaulting you.
You have drawn a memorial to them as well, haven’t you, and you sort of keep that in your mind and close to your heart.
They represented the good throughout the case. And no matter how dark things get, I always look for the good, because I know it exists, and,
sometimes, I know that it’s outside my line of sight, so I have to try a little bit harder to find it.
But I know it’s out there, and so I will continue to do this difficult work of advocating for survivors and also helping them see that there is good
and that there always are going to be people out there fighting for them.
AMANPOUR: And, listen, such an important part of your impact statement will always be there, because what I’m going to read now was then sort of
taken by Hillary Clinton in her concession speech back in 2016, when she addressed all the girls.
So, you said: “And, finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I
am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting. I believe you.”
How do you feel about that and where we are today, in light of that statement?
MILLER: I think, in the past few years, survivors’ voices have been actively oppressed.
We need to be given the space to continue to speak. The culture needs to change, so that it feels safer when we speak. I wrote about how, when I was
thinking about coming forward, I felt like I was approaching a guillotine. And it shouldn’t have to feel like that.
I wrote about how it’s not the telling of our stories that we fear. It’s what will happen when we tell our stories. And so, if the public becomes
more capable of receiving and taking care of these stories, then we will be better off.
AMANPOUR: Chanel Miller, thank you so much for joining us.
Now, a new and searing bipartisan Senate intelligence report details Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, and it is quite
hair-raising. And it comes as no surprise that Russia is probably meddling in its own democratic proceedings.
Alexei Navalny, the activist and longtime Kremlin critic, is in critical condition in a Siberia hospital. After falling in aboard a flight back to
Moscow yesterday, doctors say he is stabilized, and they have now agreed that he can travel to Germany for treatment, as his family wishes.
But if the suspicion that he’s been poisoned turns out to be true, this would play right into Putin’s playbook of revenge against his critics.
Here’s correspondent Phil Black.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alexei Navalny always knew the risks. Challenge Russia’s powerful, mobilize vast crowds, call for
revolution, and there will be consequences.
This was Navalny electrified, one of the largest ever protests against Vladimir Putin in 2011. Most of the pressure on Navalny has been legal,
regular short prison time, embezzlement charges, exclusion from elections.
There was also some green antiseptic splashed in his face, but he kept going, even as other activists suffered suspected poisoning. Leading
opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza says it happened to him twice, most recently in 2017.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, VICE CHAIRMAN, OPEN RUSSIA MOVEMENT: When I see and read what symptoms Alexei Navalny exhibited, it’s one for one exactly the
same as in my two poisonings. It’s coma, organ failure, brain swelling, artificial life support.
BLACK: Pyotr Verzilov, a key figure behind the Pussy Riot protesters and other efforts loudly critical of Putin’s rule, says Russia’s security
services tried killing him with poison in 2018.
And there have been other far less subtle international incidents, like the 2006 slow, painful death in London of Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko,
after he consumed a radioactive isotope while drinking tea with former Russian agents.
His deathbed letter addressed Russia’s president directly.
ALEXANDER GOLDFARB, FRIEND OF ALEXANDER LITVINENKO: “You may succeed in silencing one man, but the whole of protests from around the world will
reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life.”
BLACK: And, perhaps most famously, the use of an alleged Russian-made nerve agent in a quiet corner of England. In early 2018, former Russian
intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were exposed to the chemical weapon Novichok.
British police said it was sprayed on the door of his Salisbury home by a Russian hit team, which had smuggled the deadly substance into the U.K. by
disguising it has perfume.
Local woman Dawn Sturgess died after she was exposed to it months later. But Sergei and Yulia Skripal survived. They have been in hiding ever since.
Russia always insists it wasn’t involved in these cases, without appearing to care about the credibility of those denials. And experts on the murky
world of Russian power say, that’s precisely the point.
MARK GALEOTTI, RUSI: Often, I think we find the Kremlin is being once deniable and non-deniable. They want to be able to say it has nothing to do
with us, but they want to do it in such a way as to ensure that we still know it is them.
They can deny it with a smirk and a wink, and still get the capacity to scare us by showing what they’re capable of doing.
BLACK: Capable perhaps of trying to kill Russia’s most prominent, respected and charismatic opposition activist, a powerful statement, a
warning against all who are working for political change in Russia: Dare to promote an uprising, and you will fall.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
AMANPOUR: Correspondent Phil Black there.
Now, political conventions are the stage upon which presidential candidates need to master one skill above all, the not-so-subtle art of persuasion, of
Our next guest Jonah Berger, professor at the Wharton School of Business, is an expert on such matters. His latest book, “The Catalyst: How to Change
Anyone’s Mind,” argues that if you want to change the way people think, you need to remove the barriers that stand in the way.
Sounds obvious, but it’s not.
Here he is talking to our Hari Sreenivasan about how his theories can help us better navigate the world we live in.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Christiane, thanks so much.
Jonah Berger, thanks for joining us.
Here you have this book “Catalyst,” and you’re saying that you can convince almost anyone about almost anything. Why write this book? Why write it now?
JONAH BERGER, AUTHOR, “THE CATALYST: HOW TO CHANGE ANYONE’S MIND”: I am academic at heart.
And I have, over the years, had a chance to work with lots of different companies and organizations, everything from big Fortune 500s like the
Googles and the Facebooks of the world and small start-ups.
And I realized that, in some way, shape or form, everyone had the same issue. They all have something that they wanted to change. When I worked
with political candidates, they wanted to change minds about an issue. When I worked with companies, they wanted to change minds about a product or
And looking out there, just most of the approaches to change are just kind of doing it wrong, right? We’re pushing when, really, we should be getting
rid of those barriers. And that’s exactly what a good catalyst does.
Catalysts in chemistry, if you remember your old days of high school chemistry, they don’t create change by adding more temperature or more
pressure, more energy, just like most chemical reactions do. They create change by removing those sorts of things, by allowing the same amount of
change to happen with less energy, not more.
And I think we’re in a really fraught political climate at the moment. There’s lots of tension. There’s lots of disagreement. And I think, if we
understand the other side a little bit more, we get a sense of where they’re coming from, if we figure out why they’re unwilling to change and
remove those barriers, we can really change anything.
SREENIVASAN: So, do we have an inherent resistance to being pushed? I mean, does the act of being pushed towards something set off a red flag for
us that says, no, no, no, hold on?
BERGER: Yes, I think anyone who has young kids can easily attest to this. But the same is true with older kids, with bosses, with colleagues.
We all have the same thing. It’s something called reactance. And it’s basically this ingrained anti-persuasion radar. Think about almost like an
anti-missile defense system, or like a Spidey sense.
When we know or we think that someone’s trying to persuade us, our defenses go up. We go, oh, hold on. I hear that ad on the television. I hear that
pitch in a meeting. If you have a 3-year-old, you know your 3-year-old goes, oh, dad’s using that voice, you know?
And so when people feel like someone is trying to persuade them, they put their defenses up. What does that mean? Well, first of all, they avoid the
message or they ignore it. The 3-year-old runs away. We hang up on the salesperson.
But, even worse, even if we do listen, we’re sitting there counterarguing. We’re thinking about all the reasons why what someone suggested is not
going to work, why it’s a bad idea, why it won’t be effective.
And so the problem is, even if we think someone’s listening, even if they seem like they’re listening, they’re not just listening. They’re sitting
there like a high school debate team member thinking about all the reasons why our argument is bad, which make it much less likely that we will
convince them to do what we want.
SREENIVASAN: So, let’s go from trying to convince a 5-year-old of going to bed to trying to convince grownups to wear a mask right now, right?
I mean, the campaign, so to speak, or the thought among scientists and people who care about public health has all been, hey, wearing a mask
helps, you should wear a mask.
So how do we change that phrasing or that messaging? Instead of trying to push someone to wear a mask, what — how do we remove the resistance that
they might have?
BERGER: People like to feel like they have some freedom. I’m the one making my choice. I’m the one in the driver’s seat.
And as soon as something comes from us, rather than them, they’re less likely to do it. And so the question really is, how can we reduce
reactance? How can we give them back that sense of freedom or control, like they’re in charge?
And one great way to do this is to ask questions, rather than make statements, and, in particular, to do what I call highlighting a gap
between attitudes and action.
There’s a great anti-smoking ad in Thailand where they want to get people to stop smoking. And it’s from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. They
realized telling people not to smoke won’t work. So, instead, what they do is, they go around, and they ask smokers, hey, can I have a light?
And this is something smokers would usually say yes to, except, this time, smokers say no. Why do they say no? They say no because the person who
asked is an 8-year-old kid. So, 8-year-olds go up to smokers and say, hey, can I have a light?
And smokers say, no, of course not. I’m not giving you a light, right? You’re a small kid. Smoking is bad. You shouldn’t smoke. It’s going to —
do you want to run and play? It’s going to hurt your lungs. Nobody knows more about the detrimental effects of smoking than smokers to tell little
And at the end of that interaction, the kid hands the smoker a piece of paper, and, on it, it says, hey, you worry about me, but not yourself.
Think about calling this quit line.
And what’s so great about this campaign, first of all, hugely successful, 40 percent increase in calls to the quit line, viral — videos go viral on
the web, lots of attention.
But what’s great about them is, they don’t tell smokers not to smoke. They never say, don’t smoke. Instead, they say, hey, you told me not to smoke.
I’m a little kid. And you’re smoking yourself.
And then step back and let the smokers deal with it, right, because we want our attitudes and our actions to match up. We tell people not to smoke, we
probably shouldn’t smoke. We tell people to recycle, we should probably recycle.
And if they don’t match up, we have cognitive dissonance. We feel badly. We want to do the work to make them line up. And so that’s exactly what the
We can use that same idea for masks, right? You’re in, let’s say, a workplace, for example, or you’re around a bunch of people not wearing
masks. Don’t tell them not to wear masks. Instead, say something like, hey if your parents, your elderly parents or your young children were around,
would you want other people to wear masks?
The person would probably say, yes, of course, right? If my kid was around, I would want whatever else to wear a mask. OK, well, then why aren’t you
wearing one now?
And, again, not telling them what to do, but asking the right questions, guiding that journey. Pointing out a gap between their attitudes and what
they’re doing at the moment will help them do the work to resolve it.
SREENIVASAN: Let’s talk a little bit in the context of the political season, the election cycle. You don’t have to point out at any party or
tactic, per se, but you see both parties doing this right now.
They’re both making their case to their supporters that they need their help in November, right, one way or another. So how do you get to a point
where, in such a polarized country, you can have a conversation even with a member of your family who is not voting the way that you are?
Even approaching this topic is so fraught with tension right now. What’s the way to persuade people to even speak about it?
BERGER: Yes, I would say a couple things.
First, building on what we already talked about, thinking about asking questions, rather than making statements. It’s an old — an oldie, but
goody a number of decades ago, but I think it’s from the Reagan-Carter election.
Reagan asked people, hey, are you better off than you were four years ago?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Next Tuesday, all of you will go to the polls. You will stand there in the polling place and make a
I think, when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERGER: And notice what that cleverly does, right? It doesn’t say, hey, you’re not better off than you were four years ago, you should vote for me.
It doesn’t tell people to do anything. It doesn’t tell them anything. It asks them, hey, reflect on this question. And notice, by the way, you could
have had people reflect on a lot of different questions. So it’s not just asking a question. It’s asking the right question. It’s encouraging people
to go, huh, to pull to mind facts and information and things in their own mind that go along with what you want.
But what it nicely then does is, it encourages them to commit to the conclusion, because, if I say to myself, wow, I’m not better off than I was
four years ago, then, hold on, let me take that to that logical conclusion. Well, then maybe I shouldn’t vote for the same person that I did four years
By asking them a question, instead, they have got a different job. They’re sitting there going, huh, well, am I better off than I was four years ago?
Do I think this candidate has done a great job doing XYZ?
And so because they’re recruiting information, they’re not spending as much time counterarguing. And they’re much more likely to get to the conclusion
you want in the first place, so questions, rather than statements, also asking for less.
I think, sometimes, we hope, hey, right away, I’ll make one statement, I’ll say one thing, and this person will immediately cross over, oh, those
boneheaded conservatives or, oh, those whatever liberals, they think XYZ, but they’re wrong. If I just say the right thing, they will come around.
Well, first of all, they won’t. One thing is not going to do it. But, second of all, let’s start with a smaller ask. If we ask for such a big
thing, they will ignore us. We ask for a little thing first of all, I’ll listen to them. They’re not — that’s not that far away from where I am
They will move a little bit towards us. And then we can ask for more. And so by chunking the change, by breaking down a big ask into smaller chunks,
we are much more likely move people in the right direction.
SREENIVASAN: Look, if I’m watching TV in the past couple of weeks now, you see the candidates doing almost the opposite of everything you’re talking
You see them talking to their base. You see them highlighting the differences. You don’t see them reaching for an unsticking point. Is it a
different type of communication? Are they — if the goal is, let’s get my supporters to the polls and make sure they pull the lever for me, vs.
trying to find some sort of American common ground, I mean, you see sort of rhetorical flourishes, when the candidates are up on stage and accepting
the nomination and so forth.
But most of the campaign ads are not trying to build a bridge. They’re just trying to make sure that you’re happy on the side that you’re on.
BERGER: Yes, and this is the power of segmentation, right?
Just like you may see an ad for brand if you’re watching ESPN that looks very different than the ad for the same brand if you’re watching, let’s
say, Lifetime, for example, when candidates are speaking to different audiences, they should use different messages, right?
When I’m trying to get my base to come out to the polls, they’re — I’m not trying to change their mind about who to vote for, right? Most Democrats
are going to vote for Biden. They have already made their minds up. I don’t need to change their mind about who to vote for. I just need to get them to
And so talking about all the problems with Trump and pointing out whether you want four more years of the same thing, that’s going to be a great way
to light that emotional fire and really get them to turn out.
On the other hand, if I’m doing online targeting, I’m reaching out to people, whether it’s on Facebook or through other digital messages, that I
know are conservatives, if I’m not using a different message, I’m not going to be very effective.
In those situations, I need to say, OK, well, hey, you are on the other side of the aisle. I can’t move you right away to the other side. Let me
take some small steps. Let me find issues where you might be less satisfied with the status quo, chunk the change, and slowly move you in the right
And I think that’s what smart campaigns do as well. They start with a segmentation. They find out, well, who are these different audiences? What
do they need? Let me target the right messages to the right audiences, so they move in the right direction.
SREENIVASAN: You write about a process called deep canvassing that worked in the California area about LGBTQ and trans issues.
Tell me that story.
BERGER: There’s this guy named Dave Fleischer, who sort of started something that became what today we think of as deep canvassing.
And he talks about the problem of usually going to door to door, of regular canvassing. Basically, people come in, and they drop off a message. They
have already decided what they want to say. They wait until someone else opens up their door, and then they spew out facts and figures, hoping it’ll
be enough to convince someone.
Deep canvassing works a little bit differently. Dave and his colleagues tried many times, different approaches, sort of honed this over numerous —
numerous campaigns and different issues.
And he realized, we need to have a conversation with people, right? If we don’t start where they are, if we start where we are, it’s never going to
And so, instead, how deep canvassing works is, rather than starting with the contentious issue, hey, LGBT rights, hey, something that conservatives
may not be willing to consider, it starts with what I will call an unsticking point.
It starts with a place of common ground or point of agreement. People knock on a door, for example, and try to find a place where they and the person
opening that door might have a place of agreement. In one case, for example, one LGBT member talked about what it’s like to be ostracized,
They were talking to an Army vet, for example, who may not know what it’s like to be a member of the LGBT community, so, instead, said, hey, what’s a
time you have been discriminated against? And he talked about — at length about, man, they wouldn’t hire me because I was an Army veteran. That was
terrible. This is how it made me feel.
And they said, wow, that’s terrible. That’s kind of how I feel when I don’t have access to these rights as members of the community.
And so what it cleverly does is, rather than asking someone to take your viewpoint, which is really hard, right, think about a time when you were
discriminated against in your own life, it can help them understand what that might be like and be more likely to change as a result.
SREENIVASAN: So, it’s not really exposure, then, to the alternative viewpoint or the idea that’s likely to change someone’s mind. I mean, is it
going to have the opposite effect?
BERGER: I think exposure by itself is not enough.
We need to think about exposing people in the right format or the right way. A colleague of mine did this great study on Twitter where he went out
and he tried to expose people to information from the other side. If we just try to give conservatives information about liberals or liberals
information about conservatives, they will come around.
The problem is that information is so far away from where people are currently, they’re just unwilling to even consider that information in the
first place. And he found that, actually, exposing people to arguments or even information from the other side backfired.
Conservatives get even more conservative when they’re exposed to liberal information on Twitter. And liberals also became a little more liberal
after seeing conservative information.
The challenge is, it just encouraged us to dig our heels in, right, to reaffirm what we already believe. And so, instead, we need to break down
that change into smaller amounts, make it easier for people to say, well, that’s not so far away from where I am currently, at least consider what
that person has to say.
Maybe it’ll move me in the right direction. And then, if they expose me to new information, they can move me even further.
SREENIVASAN: Is there a difference in the subject matter whether you’re trying to convince someone to buy a new product, a new politician, or,
let’s say, it’s more emotionally fraught, right? It’s a personal matter or it’s about race in the workplace, I mean, things that really trigger people
at their core.
Are there tactics that you can use to approach things more effectively?
BERGER: Let’s say we’re trying to get someone to, I don’t know, put in solar panels on their roof. And I say, man, I love my solar panels. They’re
great. You should really use them.
You’re sitting there going, OK, well, Jonah is one person. Sure, he likes solar panels, but how do I know if they’re going to work out for me? How do
I know they’re going to be easy to put in? And how do I know I’m going to save money in the long term? He’s got one opinion. How do I know it’s
And there’s an old adage that goes something along the lines of, if one person says you have a tail, you laugh, but if five people say you have a
tail, you turn around to take a look.
And that’s exactly what this idea is, right? If one person says, try solar, you say, OK, that’s one person’s opinion. But if five people say, hey,
check this out, it’s a lot harder not to listen, right, because now multiple independent sources are all providing information that something
is a good idea.
And so whether we’re trying to change someone’s mind about a product or a service or a candidate, sometimes, hearing from us more times isn’t going
to do it, right? Someone says, says OK, well that’s their opinion, but I need to see more proof.
And that’s the part where having multiple people sort of speaking in chorus at a similar time point can have a much bigger impact.
SREENIVASAN: Jonah Berger.
The book is called “The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind,”
Thanks so much for joining us.
BERGER: Thanks so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: And, finally tonight, an 11-year-old Nigerian boy who went viral around the world has just accepted a scholarship to the American Ballet
Theatre in New York.
Anthony Madu wowed the world with his pirouettes dancing in the rain in his hometown of Lagos. His passion and his delight are infectious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY MADU, BALLET DANCER: Ballet is my life. And I practice everywhere. And when I’m dancing, I feel as if I’m on top of the world. And any time my
mom sends me on an errand, I dance ballet before I go to that place. And it makes me feel very, very, very happy.
And now I won a grand prize to go to the U.S. in the year 2021.
I am very, very happy about that. I will be in the plane. And this is what I’m waiting for. And ballet has done it for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Sweet story.
And that’s it for now.
We leave you with more of Anthony’s beautiful moves in the mud, of course.
Thanks for watching “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and join us again tomorrow night.