And I’m not talking about the attempt to get advertisers to stop advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show, or Fox News, although that would be bad enough.

I’m talking about the second-tier of the warfare, the attempt to intimidate those removed by one or more degrees of separation from the dispute, and to use them as tools against the target.

We have seen it a number of times in the past couple of years.

When King & Spalding agreed to represent the U.S. House of Representative after Obama changed positions  and announced that the Justice Department no longer would defend DOMA in court, there were not only protests against King & Spalding, but threats to picket and protest clients of the firm who had nothing to do with the dispute.  The threat that clients of the firm who were completely unconnected to the dispute would be harrasseed was enough to cause the firm to withdraw the representation.

Similarly, when the new Rhode Island Attorney General announced that he would cooperate with the federal goverment in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, protesters not only invaded the lobby of his offices, they picketed his house and confronted neighbors about the issue.  Dragging his neighbors into a dispute which had nothing to do with them did not cause the RI AG to back down, although not for lack of trying.

Which brings me to the present dispute with Rush Limbaugh, and radio show host Kim Komando, who has a very well-known computer talk show.

What did or does Komando have to do with the dispute? Nothing, except that one or more of the advertisers targeted by the anti-Limbaugh groups also advertises on Komando’s show.  Komando received a flood of e-mails demanding that she drop the advertisers.

Here was her response, in pertinent part (emphasis mine):

The majority of the comments directed toward me were critical that:

  1. Certain sponsors of The Kim Komando Show were also sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh Show.
  2. To that end, I had not brought pressure on those sponsors to discontinue their advertising schedules with The Rush Limbaugh Show.
  3. Therefore, I must, in some way agree with Mr. Limbaugh’s positions.
  4. Further, as a woman, I should be especially sensitive to his comments and should have been among the first to denounce him.

Over the years, it has been my decision and policy to refrain from the insertion of general politics, candidate endorsements and criticisms of public officials in my program….

All of this brings me back to Rush Limbaugh.

The old saying that, “Hindsight is 20/20,” is especially true for those of us in media who speak extemporaneously and perform our work without a script. And yes, I believe that Mr. Limbaugh could have phrased his opinions in this matter differently and should have acted much soon to diffuse the entire situation (if that is possible at all)….

What all this said, I know that some of the comments directed at me have come from long time listeners to my program. I appreciate them all.

But many others are not my listeners. Rather, they are individuals who have been motivated by commentators, bloggers and others with a particular political agenda. It is therefore clear that there is an on-going attempt to use me and my program as leverage to bring further pressure upon Rush Limbaugh.

I also do not believe that, “as a woman,” I should be particularly offended at Mr. Limbaugh’s comments. If you perceive a situation as tasteless or offensive, it matters not who or what you are.

It is regrettable that this situation has occurred. Nevertheless, above all else, The Kim Komando Show values its advertisers, its listeners and the loyalty and trust they have shown to me over the years.

We are not a part of the Rush Limbaugh controversy and we will continue to make the best decisions for our program and for whom we advertise regardless of the politics involved.

I would not be surprised to see a similar reaction from the right to the left’s attacks on advertisers, but that would be a mistake.

What is happening goes beyond Obama’s call for people to argue with their neighbors and get in their faces.  It goes far beyond Bill Clinton’s politics of personal destruction directed at accusers, and beyond name-calling by right wing pundits.

This total war, in which no one is allowed to be non-political and neighbors and clients become mere pressure points, is a dangerous development.