Twenty-four-hour cable networks set the news agenda by turning stories "from brushfire to raging conflagration," Paul Farhi writes in the American Journalism Review. Particularly during presidential campaigns, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC pull stories from newspapers and web sites and make them hot by running them day and night. But telling this to print reporters sets off instant debate.
Newspapers control the cycle by digging up fresh news, they say, but Farhi counters that print newsrooms usually run cable in the background—while newspapers don't clutter desks at CNN. One Washington Post editor even told Farhi that papers should pay more attention to cable: “The people we're trying to sell the paper to," he said, "are more likely to be watching some portion of cable news than reading the New York Times.”