This is heeding MatthewMartin's call for a discussion on the scope of 'linguistics'. Advance apologies for prolonging the discussion..
I do agree the phrase 'applied linguistics' is potentially misleading, but it's also where linguistics gets part of its public attention. If linguistics goes as 'phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics', that is, no psycolinguistics, no congnitive linguistics, no language acquisition (not even 1st language acquisition)? Then we might be missing out on quite a few research areas.