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Dear Mr. Ailes,

Donald Trump’s campaign just announced their candidate will not be coming to Thursday’s debate. Their statement read in part:

Mr. Trump knows a bad deal when he sees one. FOX News is making tens of millions of dollars on debates, and setting ratings records (the highest in history), where as in previous years they were low-rated afterthoughts.

Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away. Roger Ailes and FOX News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games. There have already been six debates, and according to all online debate polls including Drudge, Slate, Time Magazine, and many others, Mr. Trump has won all of them, in particular the last one. Whereas he has always been a job creator and not a debater, he nevertheless truly enjoys the debating process – and it has been very good for him, both in polls and popularity.

Sadly I’ve watched with amazement how in only seven months you allowed the Fox News Network become the all Trump all the time news service. And as a fan of FNC, IMHO the Trump announcement was good for the network.

Beginning with the first FNC debate where Megyn Kelly asked a perfectly reasonable question, Donald Trump has tried to bully your anchors, publicly calling them names and threatening to boycott the network. His insults launched at Megyn Kelly have been particularly nasty. Even this week months after his initial barrage he is trying to bully a woman who the network advertises as one of their stars.  Thankfully it seems that Ms. Kelly cannot be bullied. Sadly it seems that FNC management can.

Every time Donald Trump threatens to boycott Fox News, someone in FNC management seems to beg him to come back.  Not only do you welcome him back, but it seems that he is on all the time. Last week when National Review published the anti-Trump issue, it was non stop trashing of National Review.

And now Donald Trump is saying he won’t be at Thursday night’s debate. Less than an hour ago, he said he probably not go. He said that the networks responses to his nastiness were wrong.

Come on Mr. Ailes you are a bright man, to you really believe that bull story? He isn’t skipping the debate because of the network’s news releases, like all cowards he is a bully. Trump is worried because Bair, Kelly and Wallace will press him (and all the candidates) on substantive issues and he doesn’t have substantive answers. This debate is too close to the caucuses and the race is too close, he’s worried that he might screw up and there won’t be time to recover before Monday’s caucuses.

They might even ask Trump about the letter today from ten pro-life organization leaders, including, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, Beverly LaHaye and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, and Jenifer Bowen and Kendra Burger of Iowa Right to Life. The encouraged people to vote for anyone except Donald Trump.

The letter signed by ten women said in part:

“America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women. We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate.”

Just bringing up that letter from ten respected pro-life groups may cost The Donald some votes, he knows it, I know it and if you thought about it you would know it too. And that is just one of the potholes that is scaring Mr. Trump away from Thursday’s debate.

What if they asked him about the nuclear triad, would he be able to answer that this time?  Perhaps he’s afraid he’ll be tripped up by another easy homeland security oriented question.

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza, after all, shared a little secret before the last GOP debate a couple of weeks ago: Trump isn’t a great debater. Well, here’s another little secret: He knows it.

Trump isn’t terrible in debates, but he’s not as good as he is on the stump, and he’s not as good as his top rival, Cruz. Though he declares himself the winner of every debate, his poll numbers tend to dip after these rhetorical clashes.

But if tradition holds, you’ve probably asked your reporters in Iowa to help you track Trump down so you can give him a call and beg him to come to the debate.

Actually the word in the street is that you had Sean Hannity reach out to Trump to moderate but Trump said he would only talk to Rupert Murdoch.

Mr. Ailes I will grant you I am not a big fan of Donald Trump. It’s not just the fact that he isn’t a conservative (although it is a factor. I happen to have a chip on my shoulder against bullies.  When I was a kid I used to be bullied. My mom kept telling me that if I ever stood up to the bully it would stop. Like so much my mom taught me she was 100% right.

Mr. Ailes, I don’t have to tell you that Donald Trump is a bully and that he tries to bully anyone who disagrees with him. And since he entered the race he has successfully bullied Fox News management, other networks, and his competitors.

It’s time for Fox News to stand up to Donald Trump’s bullying. You have been letting him get away with it since the first debate, and quite honestly your capitulation to his bullying has made Fox News at times un-watchable.  If you allow Donald Trump to keep bullying you and Fox News management, other newsmakers will surely follow.

If you are on the phone begging Trump right now, please take my advice, “put down the phone and step away from your desk.

Face it–if Trump doesn’t show up to the final debate before the Iowa caucuses, it will be his loss. The other candidates will have a chance to trash him and he won’t be able to answer. As we say in NY tough s**t!  And that’s being kind.  When I was a manager, if someone disrespected my employees the way Trump has attacked yours, they would be banned from doing business with my company.

As the head honcho of Fox News it’s time to “grow a pair.” Leave him alone…let him sweat about the debate.

If you haven’t heard from Trump by Thursday morning, then you can give him a call. Not to beg him to come but to ask him if you should set up a podium for him. Tell him he has to decide right then and there because you have a debate to produce. If he doesn’t answer, so be it, the debate will go on without him. Yes, it might get fewer viewers for that one night but it will probably be a better debate.

And if he doesn’t show up to the debate, perhaps you can give the other candidates some air time during your news programming. Trump has been sucking all the air from your network since June, it would be a relief to see the others.

At the very least it would be the first step in returning Fox News to the quality broadcast it was before the network became the all-Trump channel and it will help the network long term.

UPDATE: Fox issued the following announcement..let’s see if they stick with it.

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