Donald Trump should accept scrutiny by the press, said Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on Tuesday.
San Francisco, United States:
Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on Tuesday said Donald Trump should accept scrutiny by the press instead of trying to shun the media.
Bezos told a technology conference he was "perfectly willing to let any of my body parts go through a big fat ringer if need be" rather than back off Post scrutiny of the Republican presidential candidate.
Bezos cited late Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham as his role model in this case. His vow was a spin on a warning reportedly directed at her during Watergate scandal coverage that toppled US president Richard Nixon.
Bezos maintained that a US presidential candidate should embrace the free press that is an ingrained and vital part of US culture.
"One thing that is not appropriate that Donald Trump is doing is working to freeze or chill the media that are examining him," Bezos said.
A US presidential candidate should think "please, examine me," he added.
Bezos said that he bought the Post in 2013 because it is an important institution, ideally situated to examine the leaders of the United States.
During a wide-ranging discussion, Bezos also had advice for Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel when it came to seeking vengeance against Gawker media: let it go.
"The best defense to speech you don't like about yourself as a public figure is to develop thick skin," Bezos said in response to a question.
"Move forward; don't lose sleep over it."
Thiel last week acknowledged funding a legal battle against the gossip website that "outed" him as a homosexual, sparking debate on whether the mogul has taken his media war too far.
Thiel told the New York Times he provided around $10 million for the litigation by former wrestler Hulk Hogan, who sued Gawker Media for releasing a sex tape featuring Hogan and a friend's wife.
The heretofore secret war against Gawker provoked a range of reactions in the media and in Silicon Valley, with many questioning Thiel's tactics.
Thiel acknowledged he is working with lawyers to find and help "victims" of Gawker Media, whose Valleywag site in 2007 revealed he is gay.
"It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," Thiel told the newspaper.
The 48-year-old with an estimated $2.7 billion fortune said he was hoping to help people who have been hurt by Gawker but lack the resources he has.
He told the newspaper he hired a legal team several years ago to look for cases against Gawker, and that others are in the works.
A jury has ordered Gawker to pay Hogan $140 million. The company is appealing.
"If you step back and think about what a great society we have, and norms that allow people to say very ugly things," Bezos said.
"You don't have to like them; you don't have to invite them to your dinner parties, but you should let them say it."