Semicolons do have some genuine shortcomings; Slate‘s founding editor, Michael Kinsley, once noted to the Financial Times
that "[t]he most common abuse of the semicolon, at least in journalism,
is to imply a relationship between two statements without having to
make clear what that relationship is." All journalists can cop to this:
The semicolon allows woozy clauses to lean on each other like drunks
I sincerely doubt that laziness is behind the use of the semicolon. As for obfuscation, I doubt that your average journalist would strain his/herself to hide the implied meaning with a semicolon. They’d probably just state the opposite. Or drop in some dramatic graphics/sound effects.
I do like that last line, though.