I hope public figures are watching this. If you think News Ltd’s war against you can’t get any worse, and you have nothing to lose by taking them on – well, they want you to know this: it can, and you do.

Take the Herald Sun‘s absurd front-page attack on Christine Nixon today:

“Hand back”? When was it theirs?

Now there’s no indication or claim in the story that these survivors contacted the Herald Sun, and reporter Stephen Drill declined to speak with Crikey when we queried him. The quotes look like the Herald Sun simply rang Black Saturday survivors and asked them if they’d like some money from the profits from Nixon’s book – unsurprisingly, they got a few to bite and say yes. Why yes, that’d be quite handy, thank you. When can we expect this windfall?

The Herald Sun also quotes “a serving police officer, who asked to remain anonymous”, who generously declared that someone who isn’t him should donate her money. (We can’t figure out why this bloke was entitled to anonymity for his random sledge – he wasn’t whistleblowing, he was just self-righteously pontificating.) No explanation was offered for his claim that she “owed the survivors”.

Unfortunately Mr Drill hung up on Crikey before we could ask him whether the Herald Sun had offered the survivors any of the profits it had made with its Black Saturday coverage.

We think it unlikely, but we’d love to be wrong and will happily update if they did and were just too humble to include it in their story.