wow. Just finished that post, it_was_very_long (those underscore thing are great, they do actually make you stress the words in your head)
I gather what you are trying to say, but i think you completely overlooked the role of sites such as mobileread.
My definition of this site is thus:
a) Niche site for a specific technology segment
b) Forum for discussing/speculating on said technology
c) defining and advancing usage of said technology (developers resource)
Now with that definition in place for myself, I would immediately understand that the core readership are what marketeers call 'early adopters'.
This is borne out by the large number of the contributers here, buying pre-production devices (iliad, and my own v2 are an example)
Now the thing with early adopters is that we will speculate about developments within our niche.
Hence i come here with the_expectation_of speculation from limited facts.
And it should come as no suprise_to_any_of_us that since the medium that is utilised for disseminating information is a vast array of interconnected computers (www), that the information/speculation is repeated and transmitted. Therefore it's designed to be an echo chamber!
Oh and as for the damage done, did i mention that we're predominately early adopters in a niche segement? So once again despite how mad we get about missed deadlines for launches (whether real or imaginary (Iliad *cough*)) we don't care..we'll buy the bloody things anyway.
Well i hope i refuted your points (your post was a little long so i might have missed some) by pointing out that speculation is great especially when it's placed in a site where we want it.