After assailing Time Warner Inc. by name for glamorizing violence, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) had a telecommunications bill changed Thursday to aid the entertainment giant and other producers of cable TV programs.
The irony was not lost on some senators, including J. James Exon (D-Neb.), who complained about Dole's provision on the Senate floor.
But Dole said his decision to amend the bill in the waning hours of its consideration had nothing to do with Time Warner and had everything to do with getting rid of a provision that was no longer needed.
Dole's amendment, adopted by the Senate in a 59-39 vote, removed a measure that would have required Time Warner and other cable programmers to provide small cable companies the same volume discounts they offer to large cable companies.
Dole also was a key advocate of removing regulations on cable-TV rates. That change could save cable operators billions of dollars each year, including as much as $500 million annually for Time Warner alone, according to Gene Kimmelman, chief lobbyist for Consumers Union.
In a speech in Hollywood May 31, Dole warned that popular music, films and television are "bombarding our children with destructive messages of casual violence and even more casual sex." He singled out Time Warner for specific criticism.
Time Warner has given Dole $21,000 in campaign contributions since 1987.