No, because AdSense lets you monetize content that you wouldn't be able to monetize on your own. Even on a large special-interest site, there may be many subtopic pages that don't generate enough traffic to justify direct ad sales.
Also, you're attacking a straw man when you suggest that publishers have to choose between AdSense and other revenue streams. AdSense is non-exclusive, and it works well on sites that use direct ad sales or affiliate links. It's an "add on," not an "instead of."