In my two-plus decades of sifting through press releases, I'm still nonplussed at the Mandrake-like abilities that some folks have in misdirecting the focus of the communication -- and, as a result, hoping the editor in question will somehow overlook the obvious.

The most common arena for this topspin strategy can be found in earnings reports, where 99 percent of the time the reporter's focus should be on the net income column. But any wizened PR veteran will you that if your company is, well, basically sucking wind in the profits department, lead with net revenues and a nice 8 percent to 10 percent rise in year-over-year comparisons.

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