Shills / Astroturfers are nothing new. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if many are paid posters. As you say, the ratio of front page opinion is disproportionately in favour of Windows 8 compared to the forums.
I don't know. It seems to me that both the forums and the news articles are filled with trolling from the usual haters such as you, the OP, still1, etc. I know you've got an anti-MS agenda to push but you shouldn't assume that nobody is excited about Windows 8.