The battle over the budget in Washington has been an interesting case study for how groups try to control the message. Sure, it's political and both sides will have supporters claiming victory.
But, when you get past the partisan talking heads, the side most often seen as having won the battle is the one who has done the best job in setting the right expectations for the media. It's an important point to keep in mind on your next public relations or media relations challenge.
PR is hardly ever just sending out a press release and hoping reporters understand your point. Rather, you should set expectations by calling reporters days ahead of the release to clue them in on what to look for and what's most important. You might also call before a report you know is to be released and offer your assessment, planting the seed that you or someone at your firm would be a good resource.
Don't assume you have to wait until an event takes place or a story is already news. Set expectations ahead of time, and reporters will more likely frame a story through your perspective and see you or your side as the winner.