Once something in a hobby looks like, "the modern/new/science-based method," tons of newcomers latch on without first learning "the old ways." With craft beer, the interesting thing is that a lot of pro brewers (or brewery owners) have only just opened up or started brewing in the post-IPA world. Everyone has their own personal taste, but plenty of people don't actually know their personal preference because they haven't tried it a different way.
When you are a newbie brewing extract beer or a newbie all-grain brewer brewing with top shelf ingredients purchased at your LHBS with $4 per ounce hops and $2 per lb base malt, you are less likely to want to try anything "old-fashioned" because you're dropping $70 into this batch of beer and really need it to be great to justify the expense/mess/sunk cost of the $150 starter kit. At least that's how I felt as a new brewer. Then the "newest" information was on the Northern Brewer forums and coming from people like Kai and Denny. IPA was an emerging style and brewers were only just starting to challenge the "malt backbone" premise in a minor way by adding sugar to their double IPA to make it more drinkable (Vinnie's Pliny recipe appeared groundbreaking for adding a lot of sugar). Prior to releasing the Pliny recipe, I thought that a DIPA needed more specialty malts to balance the high IBUs.
There are always people who want to drink clear yellow beer, too. It's refreshing, having a beer that is as close to feeling like sparkling water as possible, while having great hop flavor. I think the lack of great pale lager (there used to be a lot more bar/shelf space dedicated to premium import lagers that filled that niche) is also part of the top-selling craft style adopting more pilsner or blond ale-like qualities. The first time I had Pfriem's Blonde IPA, it was pretty revelatory. I felt the same way about a beer called Four Squared that I had in Texas (I believe it was billed as a dry-hopped double blond ale). So it's not like hoppy beers without crystal are bad, it's just that, IMO, the avoidance of crystal malt comes more from familiarity with its exclusion than from distaste with its inclusion among brewers of a certain generation. And the only reason it's problematic is that crystal malt is a worthy ingredient that deserves some consideration in more than porters and brown ales. For one thing, I am curious about the purported benefits in flavor stability that come from additions of crystal malts and carapils. The benefits in mouthfeel and head are pretty clear, too.
I know many of the IPAs that have the best malt flavor to me tend to have CaraHell in them and that many of the hoppy red ales I have enjoyed over the years have had some sort of crystal in the 70-140L range, so I tend to include light crystal malts in my IPAs and darker crystal malts in hoppy red ales that I brew. Could I achieve approximately the same color with Munich malt and Carafa/Blackprinz? Sure. Would it taste the same/similar? No.