Non-Denial Denial Meaning
(idiomatic) A statement which appears to deny that something is true, but which, when examined carefully, can be seen to have used diversion, bluster, or ambiguity to avoid making a clear, direct denial.
Example: 1997 July 1, Taran Provost, "Gates: I Wasn't Even on the Block," Time:
In a classic non-denial denial, Microsoft said that such a takeover might endanger its $200 million MSNBC network partnership.
2000 Jan. 13, Julia Hartley-Brewer, "Diary," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 11 June 2013):
"If you print that, I'll sue you." A non-denial denial if ever there was one.
2006 Oct. 1, David E. Sanger, "The Basics; Did I Say That? No, Not Really, Maybe, Sort Of," New York Times (retrieved 11 June 2013):
In Washington, there is no higher art form than the non-denial denial, in which politicians try to rebut a storyline without quite denying the specifics.
2011 Jan. 19, Vit Wagner, "Anonymous Obama novel stirs Washington," Toronto Star (Canada) (retrieved 11 June 2013):
[H]e has issued a firm non-denial denial. â€œI didnâ€™t write it,â€ he told The New York Times. â€œBut if I had written it, I would be saying I didnâ€™t write it.â€