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"Garry on Lockdown" Episode 7 | Avast

Emma McGowan 7 Apr 2021

Garry Kasparov and political analyst Frank Luntz go deep on online tribalism

Garry Kasparov is worried about America. The Chess Grandmaster and Avast Ambassador grew up in the Soviet Union and has spent much of the 21st Century as a political activist pushing back against repressive regimes. And the segmentation of Americans into political “tribes” online has him very, very concerned. 

“They believe that the real truth about something is being hidden — and only their tribe knows the real facts,” Garry says in his latest episode of Garry on Lockdown. “This is the heart of every conspiracy theory.”

But what can we do about it? Garry doesn’t claim to have the answers — but he’s committed to trying. To that end, this episode of Garry on Lockdown features a conversation with political pollster Frank Luntz. Frank is a political communications expert, working in American politics since the early 1990s. He has conservative leanings — appearing on Fox News as a commentator and analysts — but as of January 2021 is no longer a Republican.

Garry was particularly interested in speaking with Frank about how to convince skeptics to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Frank talks about a recent focus group he conducted with people who voted for Donald Trump for president. According to Frank, 40% of this group is reluctant to get the vaccine, making them the largest abstaining bloc. 

“They don’t trust the government; don’t trust the vaccine,” Frank says. “They’re more likely to get their information from the web, which means it can be wrong from time to time. It’s frightening to me. I understand, and in some ways I reflect their concerns about the government. But they are risking everybody’s health by their decisions not to do this.”

When asked how vaccine skeptics can be reached, Frank says that ambassadors like Garry are essential. He also found, through his polling, that people are most likely to trust their own doctors over anyone else. To that end, he recommends that doctors nationwide create one minute videos speaking about the vaccine and sending it out to all of their clients. 

Garry and Frank go on to talk about other issues created by online tribalism, including whether or not Twitter was right in banning Trump, the prevalence and danger of cancel culture, false beliefs that the election was “stolen,” and the potential for tribalism to bring an end to the American experiment — if we don’t take action ASAP.

Give them a watch and if you missed any of the other episodes, check them out here: