Because one of their reporters characterized romance as “fill-in-the-blanks”.
Yes, there are genre rules, and some sub-genres/writers adhere more closely to formula than others, but… Wow. Good grief. Merciful heavens.
It is true that a romance novel (as opposed to a literary love story, where the rules are slightly different unless you’re Nicholas Sparks) concludes with a successful romantic conclusion, but it’s all about the journey. The characters and where their path takes them; how they surmount the obstacles to happiness, be they internal, external, or kind of improbable (which is a whole other blog post).
I have gone on at length about the difficulty and importance of writing historical LGBT fiction. I have a story out tomorrow, A Splendid Jape, which is set in 1817. On the whole it’s reasonably light, but I’m aware that it’s also set in an era where sodomy is a capital crime. As in death by hanging.
It’s not easy to turn that into an HEA. I did (and my early readers claimed I was successful) but that’s not exactly fill-in-the-blanks. Neither are other romance stories, even ones that adhere much more closely to formula.