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Palin fury after TV show pokes fun at her Down's child Trig

FORMER US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is used to finding herself the brunt of jokes -- but her humour snapped when the animated TV show Family Guy appeared to mock her son who has Down Syndrome.

Palin's family called the creators of the show "heartless jerks" after an episode in which a female character with Down Syndrome said she was the daughter of an accountant and "my mom's the former governor of Alaska".

Palin resigned as Republican governor of Alaska last year.

Palin, who was recently hired by Fox News as a commentator, said in a posting on Facebook that the show, also aired on News Corp's Fox network, was a disappointment and "another kick in the gut," with her post receiving thousands of supportive messages.

But instead of elaborating on her views on the show that appeared to mock her 22-month-old son Trig, she said she asked the oldest of her five children, daughter Bristol, to comment as her reply, she said, would be "more restrained and gracious".

Bristol (19) said that "you have to develop a thick skin as the child of a public figure but insults at her youngest brother hurt too much to remain silent".

"People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you'll ever meet," she wrote in a statement on her mother's Facebook page.

"... why could anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? ... If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed."

However not everyone was sympathetic towards Palin. Some fans of Family Guy said the show is all about mocking people.

"It's their job to make fun of everyone. Get over it," said one. No one could be reached at Fox to comment.