“Concedes and Dismisses Accusations”

What does “concedes and dismisses accusations” mean to you? My sense is that in this context “concedes” usually means, “acknowledge[s] as true, just, or proper; admit[s].” That’s an uneasy fit with “dismisses,” but I would think many readers would interpret “dismisses” in light of “concedes,” so the phrase means “acknowledges the accusations as true, but dismisses their significance.”

Because of this, I was surprised to see the New York Times politics page headline reading, “Cain Concedes and Dismisses Accusations of Harassment”; as the text below the headline noted, Cain claimed he was innocent, which isn’t really compatible with “concedes.” To be sure, headlines are notoriously hard to craft in an unambiguous way, given the need for brevity — but wouldn’t “Cain Dismisses Accusations of Harassment” or “Cain Rejects Accusations of Harassment” be shorter and clearer? And while the text of the story corrects the misimpression created by the headline, my sense is that headlines are often all that many readers glance at.

UPDATE: Some readers suggest that “concedes” here is shorthand for “concedes the existence of.” If so, it strikes me as pretty confusing shorthand; as the definition I quoted illustrates, “concedes” generally refers to acknowledgment that certain accusations are “true, just, or proper,” and not just to acknowledgment that the accusations have been made.

Thanks to Prof. Samuel Levine for the pointer.