I have been bothered by this as well. As you say, a compromise when an image cannot be made another way...? Absolutely, especially in journalism.
Originally Posted by Eugen Mezei
That being said, I find the distortion produced by an extreme wide-angle to be incredibly distracting and that it has the effect of pulling me OUT of the scene. Of course there are cases where I think it has been well used, but not often. In my own work I try to avoid the extremes of focal length, both long and wide, so as not to make the optical qualities of my lenses the focal point of my photographs.
To each their own...