I've worked inside the newspaper machine, and I've seen what goes on. It's like making sausage; you don't want to know what goes in. Just enjoy what comes out the other end. (Ask nicely, and someday I'll tell you the tale of the rare, North Carolina jogging cat.)

So call me callous, but I wasn't overly surprised this year when the Tribune Co. (NYSE:TRB) fessed up to circulation inflation at its Newsday and Hoy publications, following the lead of its Chicago rival, Hollinger International's (NYSE:HLR) Sun Times. And I barely rolled my eyes upon the word that Belo Corp. (NYSE:BLC) discovered similar indiscretions, but I did start hoping that the New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT) and Washington Post Co. (NYSE:WPO) wouldn't follow suit.

They haven't, so far. And today the Tribune issued a release that, according to the title, updated us on the circulation setback. And by update, it meant the numbers went down again. A long way. Newsday's figures may have been inflated by as many as 100,000 papers, and the new numbers will likely knock it out of the top 10 papers in the country, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune today.

To accommodate the audit, the firm also announced a charge of up to $60 million, to be taken on top of the $35 million already earmarked to deal with the problem in July. That looks like a big wad of money, but it's roughly equivalent to a fifth of a typical quarter's pre-tax income. The stock barely budged today, probably because, in the low $40 range, most of the circulation scandal is already priced into the shares.

And that presents Fools with a decent opportunity. After all, this company isn't going anywhere, and it's very profitable when running on all cylinders. The margins are among the best in the biz -- though behind Gannett's (NYSE:GCI) lately. It produces copious free cash flow, and, by that measure, is currently cheaper than its peers. For value fans who aren't afraid of bad news, this may be the time to buy.

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Seth Jayson spent plenty of time in the belly of the news beast, but he has no position in any company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.