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Trump to CNN: Donate Sept. 16 Debate Profits to Vets

In the wake of stories about how much spot ads are going for in the Sept. 16 GOP debate (a 4,000% increase), leading candidate Donald Trump has written CNN president Jeff Zucker suggesting the network donate profits from those ads to veterans' groups.

Fox drew debate-record ratings for its Aug. 6 airing of the first Trump vs. the rest of the GOP field debate.

In a letter to Zucker dated Sept. 8, a copy of which Trump tweeted, the Republican candidate said that since he was sure it was his appearance that would be driving viewership -- "this tremendous increase in viewer interest and advertising is due 100% to Donald J. Trump," he bragged -- the network should air the debate as a public service and donate the ad dollars.

Trump said he would soon be supplying Zucker a list of the organizations he was suggesting get the money. "This large contribution of many millions of dollars would be a truly wonderful thing for CNN to do," he added.

No word on whether CNN would take that unusual step -- a spokesperson had not returned a request for comment at press time -- but the likelihood was low, particularly after CNN announced Wednesday it was providing free online and mobile viewing of the TV debate to boost the eyeballs for advertisers seeking more bang for their bucks.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.