My first reaction after reading the NYT article (which I shared with the entire faculty):
Great point (not because it's new but because it's so relevant to the problems in social science research) -- esp. the second argument in the article: "the analysis of empirical data can be valuable even in the absence of a grand theoretical model."
So often I see irrelevant models "installed" on a study because the researcher tries to avoid this common (sometimes cheap) question from peer reviewers: "Where is the theory?" What's worse, there are so few theories in communication.