I do think some exceptions should be made though when it comes to discoveries like new exoplanets or comets or asteroids. The idea may be antiquated, but there was a certain fairness to it.
Who gets credit for the discovery? The person who funded the discovery, the person who made the observation, the person who reduced the data, the person who analyzed the data, or the person who oversaw the whole operation? Historically, the credit has gone to the last category (usually the principal investigator). But nowadays the credit is getting spread around more. In any case, the point is that there is almost never a lone discoverer in modern science - its a chain process. The same thing happened here, but they are just focusing on the kid for PR reasons (nothing wrong with that, but just pointing out that he didn't do the observations, probably didn't do most of the reduction, and wasn't the PI).
I heard part of the snafu over Eris but didn't really learn any details of it so I'll have to look into it as you suggest. It sounds interesting.
Eris wasn't the biggest deal, but Mike Brown caused some controversy with naming of some of the other dwarf planets (his team has discovered a lot of them). It's mostly silly stuff, but there is actually a lot of politics in naming this stuff, and there was a feeling that he wasn't following the right procedure.
Its not so much about being smart or dumb, its just that if you get a few hundred people from all around the world, they are going to disagree a lot. Scientists also argue a lot. It is their nature.