This headline appears on Google News today, attributed to ABC News:
Washington cardinal refutes he was warned about archbishop, knew about abuse
Somebody at ABC News apparently objected, because the ABC web site now has this headline:
Archdiocese of Washington denies it was warned about sanctions against cardinal
The article, however, still says,
The Archdiocese of Washington emphatically refuted claims it was aware of sanctions due to abuse allegations against its former archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, after a former Vatican official penned a letter making the accusation on Sunday.
Mark Osborne, “Archdiocese of Washington denies it was warned about sanctions against cardinal“, ABC News, 28 August 2018.
To refute is to disprove, not merely to deny or reject. That’s why irrefutable evidence may be rejected but not disproved.
Etymonline.com gently reminds us of that:
Since c. 1964 linguists have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards ‘to deny,’ as it is used in connection with allegation.
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, on the other hand, has wimped out, and now allows “deny” as a secondary definition:
1: to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous
“2: to deny the truth or accuracy of • refuted the allegations
It also unpardonably tells us to put the stress on the second syllable of refutable. It still puts the stress correctly on the first syllable of reputable, perhaps because not enough people have mispronounced that word.