moving to IPv6

there was an increasing sensationalist panic in the half-informed press
    that the internet was going to run out of address space in the next
    fifteen minutes.

There is a certain amount of evidence that this was fanned, in times prior to
IPv6, by people in whose interest it was to promote interest in protocols with
a larger address space. So I don't think you lay all the blame on the press.

    The IPv6 decision immediately solved that problem. Victory over the
    address space problem was declared.

I've heard that rationale from a number of people (incudling some who held it
at the time). The only problem with it is that the cost to the IETF community,
in a variety of ways, including damaged personal interactions, and diverted
energy (the "B Ark" phenomenon notwithstanding) has been very, very high

There were better ways to i) assuage the panic (by doing things that did
provide more useable addresses), and ii) did something useful for the
future of the Internet, but they didn't get picked.