It all boils down to people being afraid of something that they needn’t be afraid of, and other people getting fat off of it. The 2012 panic isn’t as bad as the anti-vaccination movement; it’s not going to kill adults and children like anti-vaxers already have. But I’d say it’s cut from the same cloth.
I think scientists are always going to be in the unfortunate position of trying to pick up the pieces after charlatans and the simply misinformed have done their Godzilla-like lumbering around. Scientists, after all, are hobbled by the inability to Just Make Shit Up.