I see the same issue sometimes in academia. For example, some universities or university departments consider only where a faculty member published, not whether the content was any good. If one were to publish utter gibberish in a top tier journal, these universities would consider that meritorious because who cares about the content, the form is all that matters. The consequent of this is that I regularly get solicitations from journals to publish in them where the journal exists only for the purpose of inflating the resumes of faculty members who are under such pressure.
The so-called tone of something is also a form over content matter. No one seems to be able to define tone or point to any objective criteria for detecting it. Psychologists point out that individuals are terrible at detecting the intended tone of written communications. Their experiments show that coin-flipping is about as accurate in identifying the intended tone of a written communication as humans are. Focusing on the tone can serve as a means of dismissing the content.
Jesus pointed out that focusing on form was a means of dismissing the content of the message:
Τίνι δὲ ὁμοιώσω τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην; ὁμοία ἐστὶν παιδίοις καθημένοις ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς καὶ προσφωνοῦντα τοῖς ἑτέροις αὐτῶνInhalt über Form.
καὶ λέγουσιν, ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε· ἐθρηνήσαμεν ὑμῖν, καὶ οὐκ ἐκόψασθε.
ἦλθεν γὰρ Ἰωάννης μήτε ἐσθίων μήτε πίνων, καὶ λέγουσιν, Δαιμόνιον ἔχει·
ἦλθεν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων, καὶ λέγουσιν, Ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος φάγος καὶ οἰνοπότης, τελωνῶν φίλος καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν. καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς.
What shall I liken this generation to? It is like children sitting in the market place calling to their companions
and saying, "We piped but you did not dance; we cried and you did not mourn."
For John came neither wining nor dining and they say, "He has a devil."
The Son of Man came wining and dining and they say, "Look, the man is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of extortioners and sinners." But wisdom is vindicated by her works.