Wow, you just made me so angry I almost just filled this entire response with expletives. You are either stunningly ignorant of the how the entire world of communication works, or you are a troll, or you are one of the reasons why PR is required in the first place.
Of course the shift in language is a PR exercise. That's because when you are trying to tell the world some important information, use of language is important. It's called nuance. Public Relations is just that - relating information to the public at large. If you discover that the language you are using is not getting the message across, then you have to alter the language to succeed. Otherwise you simply get drowned out by people who are betting at language, but not necessarily better at science.
In case you hadn't noticed, the number of scientists in the world vs the number of 'laypeople' is somewhat disproportionate. scientists don't often get to pick the lessons that taught to the public, especially when a bit of controversy can be stirred up instead. Or the latest news about who's fucking paris hilton.
And this whole continual argument about how bad governments are at regulating stuff really gets up my nose as well. In what way are private businesses good at regulating anything?! The only thing private organisations regulate successfully is skimming as much profit off the rest of the world as they possibly can. Free markets only price short term costs, they have no model for pricing the long term impact of what they produce - certainly not without regulation and laws laid down by a strong government willing to take on special interests. Which are sadly few and far between.
I've run out of steam now, and I know that this will make no difference to anyone's opinion whatsoever. But i feel a smidgen better
New York... when civilization falls apart, remember, we were way ahead of you. - David Letterman