AP Will Sell You a "License" To Words It Doesn't Own
I think the suggestion that it's brain-dead would work with your analogy thus. It's like going to a gas station and walking around a gas station that only sells Doritos and handing them a bag of Kettle Chips. Presumably, their system should read the bar code and tell you that they aren't sold there (how can it figure out how much to charge if they don't sell that product).
If you offer to license part of an article, you would similarly expect the AP system to at least do some sort of sanity check to see if the text you're quoting came from that article.
What if you made up a quote like "Today, Reuters announced they were declaring bankrupcy" and licensed it from the AP. Could you then attribute that quote to the AP? Do you think their system should allow that?
First Deus Ex 3 Details Emerge
I think it's really because sometimes the goals of management can be different than those of game designers. If you're running a game company you don't really care if the games the company makes are "good" as long as they sell well. Game designers understand that and may have to bow to pressure from above to make a game more marketable (which often doesn't mean better). Now, you'll cry, 'but wait, good games will sell better'! But, that isn't necessarily the case... and that's how we end up with tons of cookie cutter "safe" games.
I'm not saying it's right, I'm just trying to respond to the "I don't understand WTF they're thinking" thing.