Trump shouldn't criticise the news media, says Amazon's Jeff Bezos

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His private ownership of The Washington Post, which has published articles critical of the White House, has also put him at odds with US President Donald Trump.

"We live in a society where it's not just the laws of the land that protect us".

Bezos hasn't said how much he'll be contributing to the fund in coming years.

Roughly 1,400 people, including almost 20 ambassadors, the governor of Maryland and the U.S. Postmaster General, crowded into the same ballroom used to host the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in the middle of the city to hear the Amazon chief executive speak. "Nobody in their garage is going to build an all-fiber fuel-efficient Boeing 787". In the summer of 2017, Bezos tweeted a request from the masses for philanthropic ideas "at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact".

When asked if he is in contact with President Trump, Bezos said the two have spoken a few times, but would not elaborate any further.

"It's unsafe to demonize the media", Bezos said. It is a contrast to the long view that Bezos has preached at Amazon and Blue Origin, the space-travel technology company he has been funding with $1 billion a year through the sale of Amazon stock.

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During remarks made at the Economic Club of Washington, the billionaire called on Trump to tone down his "dangerous" rhetoric aimed at reporters and news publications, AFP reports. "The team is working their butts off on it and we will get there".

With a personal fortune of US$163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon chief executive officer had been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy.

He said "we have made tremendous progress" in the search but offered no clues, despite reports that Amazon board members had visited locations in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia.

Launched in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has become a retail powerhouse operating globally, and has expanded into streaming video, music, cloud computing and other segments, and a year ago acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

On Thursday, the founder and CEO of Amazon announced the creation of the Bezos Day One Fund, an initiative to create a network of free Montessori-based, preschools in under-resourced neighborhoods and to support groups benefiting homeless families.

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