Lindelof's statement about budgets and how you have to be saving the world if you spend more than $100m doesn't really hold water at all. Fast & Furious 6 spent almost as much as StiD did ($160 million) and did $786 million at the box office (well over what STiD managed IIRC), without
blowing up much more than a parking garage. It does sound kind of hacky and defensive... although it also sounds like the conditions born of external pressure, and I could certainly believe that people at Paramount and CBS (perhaps with international focus group statistics in hand) could be the source of that kind of reasoning and priority-setting.
Having said all that, the "disaster porn" complaint leveled at STiD seems too easy to me, and off the mark. STiD was actually quite restrained in terms of property destruction, and insofar as a 9-11 parallel existed it was more in terms of there being some form and flavour of domestic threat at all and terrorism-as-part-of-the-equation at all. "Disaster porn" -- which IMO is much more about the apocalypse-anxiety of our times than about 9-11 -- is a much more relevant term to a film like Man of Steel
(whose urban throwdown apparently should have caused $2 trillion in damage, left almost 400,000 people dead or missing and more than twice that number injured) or Pacific Rim
(which was specifically apocalyptic-stakes science fantasy).