Jeff Kyle, Chris Kyle’s brother spoke to a group of students last night on campus about how the media affects individuals and families who are forced into the spotlight.
Kyle, who is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, said he was forced to be in the spotlight after his brother’s passing.
“The journalists I have dealt with, it means a lot to me how the good ones react to the family and how they don’t pressure us.” Kyle said. “How they take our story for what it is and they don’t turn things.”
Kyle said that the media does affect families in a tremendous way. He added that the circumstances he and his family were in were bad to begin with, but having to deal with the media 24/7 just made everything worse.
“Knocking on our doors and following us around and blowing up our phones constantly and knowing where we live and coming out to our homes unannounced,” Kyle said. “That’s a little eerie for country people like us.”
Kyle said he is proud of his story and his military career and how he now works with all veterans, no matter the branch they were involved in. He added that he also tries to help the veterans’ family members as well.
“I guess I’ve devoted my life to help those that have been over there and have seen what I’ve seen,” Kyle said. “There’s a lot of veteran foundations and nonprofit foundations that I’m involved in.”
When asked if there is anything Kyle would change about the media’s image of his brother he said he would change what the media and people think of who Chris Kyle was as a person.
“I think a lot of the media and a lot of people think that Chris was just this straight up killer. That that’s all he lived for, that’s all he wanted to do,” Kyle said. “When in reality he was the biggest teddy bear in the world. He had that strong side, but he was a very compassionate and very loved person.”
Kyle said advice he has for future journalist who will be working with individuals who may have gone through similar circumstances is to not have a chip on your shoulder and not to pry.
“Get to know the person, talk to the person, be a human,” Kyle said. “Just listen to them and let them feel comfortable.”
Adjunct reporting and writing journalism professor Bethany Moore said her opinion on tonight’s talk was that it was beneficial to have Kyle come to Baylor and speak to young journalists.
“ I love real people and that’s so him,” Moore said. “He’s going to be very honest about his opinion, his opinion of other people, and his opinion about the media.”
Moore said you are going to be put in these situations where you will be tested and pressured into breaking news situations, but at the end of the day its important to remember that these are real people that you are talking to.
“What would you do if this was your brother or your mother and just using that sensitivity,” Moore said. “Just making sure that you always realize that your stories affect people every single day.”
Lakeville, Minnesota sophomore Jackie Johnson said she decided to come to Kyle’s talk because she saw American Sniper when it was in theaters and how the movie is still very relevant today.
“I think it’s interesting that it’s something that’s native to Texas and it’s nationally well known,” Johnson said.