Why Sarah Palin Takes 'American Sniper' Criticism Personally

The man behind the movie was Palin's one-time bodyguard – and friend

Photo: Courtesy Sarah Palin

Sure, Sarah Palin can be quick to pounce when something rubs her wrong.

But when Michael Moore and others take after the man behind box-office hit American Sniper it gets personal.

“You’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots,” the former Alaska governor and VP candidate wrote on her Facebook page Monday night after Moore, the liberal filmmaker, Tweeted that “snipers aren’t heroes” – which many took as a reference to the Clint Eastwood film starring Bradley Cooper.

It turns out that Palin and Kyle were friends. They met and bonded in 2011, when the retired Navy SEAL was hired to help with security at a movie premiere that Palin, a proud military mom, attended in Iowa. (Her eldest son, Track, was an Army infantryman who served in Iraq.)

Palin posted a photo showing Kyle (in sunglasses and taupe suit) in bodyguard mode as she signed autographs outside that screening.

They remained close as Kyle went on to star with Palin’s husband Todd on the NBC reality series Stars Earn Stripes, where Todd earned the highest of praise from Kyle: “He’s straight-up Rambo. Next time I’m in a war, I want Todd Palin on my side.”

The Palin family attended Kyle’s 2013 funeral in Texas and Todd dedicated his Iron Dog snow-machine race – and winnings – that year to the Chris Kyle Memorial Trust.

So, when Palin tells “Hollywood leftists” they are “spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do,” it’s not just right-left rancor.

In fact, Palin went on to praise Hollywood (or parts of it, anyway) for doing right by Kyle’s widow and their two children: “May the epic American Sniper bring nothing but blessings to Taya and the children of this true American hero.”

“Thank you Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood for respecting the United States Military.”

Another forceful defender of the film this week was Dan Isett, director public policy for the Parents Television Council, which aims to protect children “from entertainment’s negative effects.”

In a blog entry posted Tuesday, Isett says Hollywood criticism of the film is “some of the most callous hypocrisy I’ve ever come across out of Hollywood – and that’s no small feat.”

“Even if you accept the premise that Chris Kyle was a “sociopath,” how would that make him any different from many of the lead characters that appear on television night after night?” he wrote.

“Did the same critics wring their hands about the drug dealing, meth-creating Walter White of “Breaking Bad?” Have these critics not seen the impact of the sociopathic Hannibal Lecter on the eponymous show on NBC? What about the serial killer Dexter, which aired for years on Showtime and even CBS for a time? Were these critics not around when “Sons of Anarchy” featured some of the most intense violence and graphic sex ever put on television?” he also said in the post.

“Hollywood cannot have it both ways,” he added. “It is intellectually dishonest to decry the impact of one film for its violence and “glorification of a killer” while streaming enormous amounts of violent content into every living room in the country. ”

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