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In a statement Saturday night (12/26/15), Manning said:

“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never.”

He added, “I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.” 

Is this a good denial? 

Let’s first look at the underlying allegation. Al Jazeera is reporting the Guyer Clinic sent HGH (Human Growth Hormone) to Ashley Manning, Mr. Manning’s wife. The implication is Mr. Manning used HGH. 

Manning's statement, again with important words underlined:
“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never.”
He added, “I really can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.” 

I often talk about making sure the presentation doesn’t overpower the message. Here, Mr. Manning’s emphasis is on the allegation, not the allegation’s underlying implication that he used HGH. 

He could have said, “I never used HGH.” Instead his response is a statement full of wiggle words and ambiguity. He focused on the allegation, not the implication. Simple, precise, and direct denials are best. 

Mr. Manning never denied using HGH, which goes to the heart of the allegation. And since he did not, we wonder if there is something to it. Once again, poor denials keep allegations alive. 

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