Disclaimer: I am a PhD chemist, but I am not your chemist (or something like that).
The nebulous threat of 'chemicals' has been present for years, but there has been a bit of an uptick in rhetoric recently.
Much as the traditional computer hacker resents the rise in the use of the term hacker in the media to mean malicious computer criminal, most chemists I know are quick to dismiss the silly bias against 'chemicals' in the media. But the term has become a catchphrase for the larger population, and pointing out that everything is made of chemicals has little effect. 'Organic' food is the same way - no one would eat inorganic cucumbers (aka rocks), but the word organic means something else in that context.
Long-hand chemical names won't fix it, because your eyes just gloss over the *fnord*perfluorooctanoic acid*fnord* chemical names. If you want to call out specific chemicals, give them a shorter name (maybe spell them out for people who really want to know), but then explain them and why they are bad.
There are plenty of naturally occuring chemicals that will kill you in small doses, there are manufactured chemicals that are perfectly safe to spray on your children, and every spectrum in between. If the media wants to call out 'chemicals', I think we would all appreciate them specifying which ones.
The whole 'fraking' thing is a great example of this. Most 'fraking fluid' is water and PEG (polyethylene glycol, a harmless 'chemical' found in lots of beauty products - see what I did here?). So who cares if you inject that into a shale formation miles below the water table? Are there other chemicals in there that might be harmeful? Could be (and often are). Call them out specifically if you want me to worry about them. But we have a problem here - people won't panic if you tell it like it is, making it much better to light someones tap water on fire! What's burning? Not 'fraking fluid', not any of those nasty 'chemicals', just natural gas that was probably there before any drilling started. But if you tell people that the oil companies are pumping nasty chemicals into the ground, and show them a faucet on fire, they'll draw their own conclusions, based an anecdotal evidence rather than logic and causality. And this is, or course, exactly what was supposed to happen in response to the scaremongering in the media.
People love to get riled up about something, and there are no shortage of chemicals that they could be getting riled up about. Some more careful journalism, and a requirement that most people need at least science 101 and math 101 to really understand the information they will be presented with would all be good, but I don't see any of those changes happening in the short term. It is at once wonderfully reassuring and extremely terrifying that you don't need a brain to have an opinion.