Science needs publicity. Publicly funded research has to account for its projects – internally as well as externally. In the past, accounting for projects was a matter dealt with in courtly or academic circles, today the forum is research journals. This "internal" communication seldom reaches the public; however, external communication seeks out the wider (lay) audience - for many reasons.
“It’s the economy, stupid”, was the successful slogan of the presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. Development over the last few years could be summarised in a similar fashion: A major political economisation of large parts of society that was not just restricted to science. As a consequence this means that the scientific community has to be increasingly answerable to non-scientific laws quite apart from the genuinely intrinsically scientific logic (progress in knowledge; good teaching methods). A competition for resources and attention has begun that increasingly pays lip service to the fetish of “application” and appears to push to one side basic research and everything that is not economically viable.
Reference:Hettwer, Holger; Lehmkuhl, Markus et al. (ed.), WissensWelten. Wissenschaftsjournalismus in Theorie und Praxis, Bertelsmann Publishing House Foundation, Gütersloh 2008, see articles by Peter Weingart, Wissen ist Macht? – Facetten der Wissensgesellschaft, p. 25 et seq.