Appeared to Contradict

What is the purpose of the word "appeared" in the following paragraph from the NY Times?
The previously undisclosed meeting appeared to contradict Mr. Gonzales’s previous statements about his knowledge of the dismissals. He said at a news conference on March 13 that he had not participated in any discussions about the removals, but knew in general that his aides were working on personnel changes involving United States attorneys.
It is there to keep the sensibilities of the reporters & editors at the Times pure by allowing the to avoid saying the obvious, theat the Atorney General of the United States lied. Lied about his attempt to turn the Justice Department into a Soviet-style arm of the political apparatus:
Now we know with crystal clear proof what we really already knew a week ago: that Alberto Gonzales was lying about his role in the US Attorney Purge. So add that to the list of all the other things he's lied about. But don't get distracted by the lying or even the cover-up. Right-wing shills want to chalk the blundering administration response to US Attorney Purge scandal to incompetence. But just as we can infer the force of gravity from the descent of the falling apple, the panicked succession of lies and dodges out of the administration implies not incompetence but guilty knowledge of underlying bad acts. This isn't about the AG's lies. It's not about the attempted cover-up. It's not about executive privilege and investigative process mumbojumbo. This is about using US Attorneys to damage Democrats and protect Republicans, using the Department of Justice as a partisan cudgel in the war for national political dominance. All the secrecy and lies, the blundering and covering-up stems from this one central fact. [Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo]

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.