News Limited’s tabloids know a circulation puller when they sniff one, and their nostrils have been quivering over the past three days since Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years in jail for drug smuggling.

Here are some of the headlines from TheDaily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun since Saturday:

“INSIDE CORBY’S NIGHTMARE” … “Day of outrage to show our disgust” … “Hellhole she’ll call home for 20 years” … “NATION’S FURY” … “20 years in hell and prosecutors still demand life” … “Nation’s fury at sentence” … “ALONE AND AFRAID” … “Family fears suicide” … “Let’s hurt Bali in the pocket” … “Indonesia must look at grotesque anomolies” … “A NATION REVOLTS” … “Fury erupts at Corby jail term” … “From support to damnation” … “Horrors await in jail hellhole” … “Corby’s ex-lover backs trade ban” … “Australia is crying now” … “Share of hell in grotty cell” … “Embassy phones run hot with hate” … ‘DAYS OF HATE” … “Cellmates ‘are giving her hell'” … “National donations backlash”

CRIKEY: These are headlines that sell newspapers and make their editors look successful. But they’re also headlines with the capacity to incite readers and fuel something much bigger – like demonstrations, retribution and hatred towards Indonesia.

That would achieve two things: more circulation and the end of a workable Australian relationship with Indonesia (and possibly other Asian countries).

Hysterical headlines and stories like these have nothing to do with press freedom or editorial independence. As News Limited columnists like Piers Akerman or Andrew Bolt might put it: “They are weapons in the hands of irresponsible zealots.”

Time to call a halt, Rupert.