Even a good tech journalist may write a bad article with arguments that don't stand. If you think that Intel is a good platform, buy it dude. Just that the price for the oven called Core i5-10400F is around 180$ now and you have to pay another 20$ for cooler. Ryzen 5 3600x has. So suddenly Core i5-10400F recommendation does not sound good at all. Steve should mention this and also that no overclocking, no upgrade path and Intel Z3-4xx Motherboard platform is inferior to Am4 platform. Even Steve Walton is a very good tech journalist he is not perfect all the time and this article proves it. So as I said I feel compassion for him.
As for buying Intel, I haven't done that since 2008 and I'm certainly not going to start supporting that criminal enterprise anytime soon so don't think that I'm defending Intel (hell no). What I am defending is Steve Walton's journalistic integrity.
I actually share your big-picture opinion but I also must allow that Steve is assuming that most people already have a CPU cooler from a previous PC so that cost isn't taken into account. I agree with this because you kinda have to have a computer to read his articles or watch his videos (sure you could use a SmartTV but let's be realistic here) in the first place.
Generally, people who are upgrading already have a CPU cooler and those things can last for decades. Like, the CPU cooler of my old Phenom II X4 940 is still spinning happily in my mom's computer and that cooler is 13 years old now. Since the 10400F can't be overclocked, any old Intel CPU fan will work and those things are everywhere. Linus actually tested one of these cheap ($5 on AliExpress) coolers on an i7-7700K and the cheap cooler held it at 85°C when overclocked to 4.45GHz.
The i7-7700K has a TDP of 91W while the i5-10400F has a TDP of only 65W. They both use the Intel 14nm node. The i5-10400F has a locked multiplier and no IGP so that $5 cooler would be just fine on it. Steve knows all of this stuff and perhaps forgets to say so but the other major factor is that the Intel CPU is available and those Intel cores are still fantastic at gaming (mostly beating Ryzen 2) which makes it a great value for a gaming rig.
Does it otherwise suck in comparison? Of course it does. However, for someone who doesn't care about brand and just wants a good gaming PC (which means no IGP is necessary anyway), the i5-10400F is a good value right now. Personally, I think that it's a terrible choice long-term and I would never buy it but Steve is only being fair in pointing it out. There are people who really want to upgrade their systems to play Cyberpunk 2077 and with the dearth of high-end gaming CPUs out there right now for reasonable prices, I believe that Steve was trying to help them out. Sure, they're not you and they're not me but just because something is irrelevant to us doesn't make it bad journalism. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people appreciate his recommendation because right now, the marketplace is an absolute mess!