How Much a "But" Can Change Meaning

I’m amazed, sometimes, at the subtlety of language. For example, from this morning’s AJC:

Bells Ferry Road near Canton has reopened after a water main break. Officials had originally said the road would be closed throughout the morning commute but later said the road had not been damaged. It was reopened shortly after 6 a.m.

Not casting aspersions on the writer, doesn’t this sound somewhat accusatory? Doesn’t it imply that the Officials in question had said that the road was damaged by then retracted their statement? That’s how it sounds to me.

Read this phrasing, which is probably more accurate:

“Officials had originally said the road would be closed throughout the morning commute. They later said the road had not been damaged.”

A single “but” can have a huge impact, no?

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