Confirmation this week of how metro newspapers in Australia are over-cooking their published circulation figures is a sign of how desperate things have become in MSM land.
It's been plain for a while that Fairfax and News Ltd have been giving away newspapers faster than they can print them in an effort to stop their circulation numbers falling to levels that threaten their advertising rates.
After all, it's difficult to walk through a gymnasium, airport lounge, hotel lobby or university cafe these days without tripping over large piles of unread broadsheets, dumped on them by newsagents like cluster bombs from a B-52.
The economics of why media companies are clinging so desperately to their anachronistic distribution model is nicely explored by Alan Kohler in Business Spectator today. Essentially, a newspaper reader is worth around 20 times the value of an online reader in advertising alone, and more than 100 times once you take the cover price into account.
While it's hard to feel sympathy for the likes of News Ltd, whose national daily The Australian struggles with a circulation of only around 125,000 (and that's almost certainly an exaggeration), there is a public interest in what these trends mean for good journalism.
The publishers have known for years that their business model is unsustainable, but it's still too damned profitable for them to give up on. So it's in their interests to cling on to the old model for as long as they can. In the meantime, the standard of journalism (like the fabled boiling frog), shrivels under the heat of online competition.
So while we've all had felt some catharsis in the past week or two putting the boot into the press gallery's miserable efforts in the election, sooner or later we'll have to ask ourselves what price our democracy puts on good journalism - irrespective of the plight of the dying press monopolies.