WATCH: Tim Murphy Talks Political Data-Mining on Democracy Now!

I was on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman on Monday morning talking about the Obama and Romney campaign’s use of online and offline data-mining to learn more about you (and then ask you for money). Watch:

You can read my profile of Harper Reed, Obama for America’s Chief Technology Officer, here. And here’s the how-to guide on how the Obama campaign learns more (and more, and more) about you.

On Sunday, the New York Times covered a lot of familiar ground in a big piece on campaigns’ use of consumer data—they’ve been using these databases since at least 2002—but one interesting nugget in there is the discussion of online shaming. Advocacy groups and campaigns have already experimented in sending out passive-aggressive mailers to voters (citing things like voting history) in order to coerce them into showing up at the polls or volunteering. Now they’re branching out into the Internet as well, and using your own circles of friends to do it. (Here’s a good example of this kind of pitch, from the Obama campaign, providing an online tracking number and gently asking you to correct the record if it’s really true that you haven’t given any money.)

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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