I think that's what MC was actually getting at.
IMO, at that time, everyone was all agog at the Russians and Euro dancers' performance skills, and overlooked the dance skills. I am not saying that they were/are bad dancers! I am saying that they did not know the american style, and did the only thing that they could... dance it with int'l tech/styling. The judges simply let it go. Also, this was during the invention of DS, which also allowed nontraditional elements ito BR. So, together, BR simply lost a lot under the guise of evolution.
Now, obviously I don't have the knowledge or experience to know the history behind this, but just based on what I've seen with my own 2 eyes during my time spectating and running scores at comps, I think it goes back to International-trained judges judging American events. Despite theoretically having a judging certificate for all 4 styles, they still don't understand what American (specifically, Rhythm) is supposed to look like, so they don't mark couples that are doing the technique correctly, and it evolves from there.
I think some of the blame also goes on the dancers themselves. It seems to be getting more and more popular for people to bring in a partner from Latin to dance Rhythm with, especially after a partnership break-up. These "transplants," if you will, don't even attempt to dance American technique (or timing, to use your word TD) but they still place highly and even win competitions. I can think of at least 2 specific examples of this just in the past few years.