I'm certainly not defending the practice. I don't like repeated pull quotes either, and prefer to use highlight quotes that supplement the text without repeating myself (and I use a CSS class called pullquote to do so.)
I suspect that in an era where TL;DR is the norm (has anyone thought about naming this "Generation TLDR"?) they're mostly used to get 1% of the audience to read something more than the headline and see the featured photo before retweeting or posting to Facebook. Unfortunately, we're apparently part of the 0.001% that bothers to read through an entire post anymore, so we're the only ones to notice the UX problem.
Maybe being able to embed a pull quote in a title would help fix the issue?!
Maybe the new AMP spec can help publishers to automatically remove these repetitive type of pull quotes for the next generation?