IANAL, but, AFAICT, speculation and innuendo most definitely are protected. "Real" journalists do that sort of thing all the time.
e.g. Headline: Is Obama a Muslim? Story: Of course he isn't...
Most people just read the headline. A few months later, their brains will have filtered out the smaller words and just remember "Obama, Muslim". That's one of the big reasons so many people today still believe he is.
I don't remember the target, but I remember a long-running smear campaign a few years back. Some guy registered a domain named something along the lines of so-and-so-is-not-an-idiotic-jerk.com then put up a website full of innuendo. Things like "Are the rumors that so-and-so molests children true? We here at so-and-so-is-not-an-idiotic-jerk.com don't believe them for a second. Anonymous sources claim that so-and-so enjoys torturing kittens, but we don't think those sources are credible."
IIRC, the legal battle was pretty spectacular. After the website owner won, they kissed and made up. He transferred ownership of the domain to his target, and it's been largely forgotten. I'm not having any luck tracking it down on google, so this is hearsay and should probably be ignored.
We also have a lot of leeway when providing examples. It would probably be libel for someone to write "Alex Greeley, of Frog Leap, ND sells illegal fireworks" (I intend that example to be completely fictional. If there is such a person and place, I apologize profusely. I did not mean anything by it). But I could have used a real person and place and probably gotten away with it just fine.
Anyway. What you can't do is come out and make inflammatory declarative statements directly. She apparently wrote that the behavior of some lawyer (who she named) in some case (which she cited) was criminal. No evidence beyond an anonymous source. "Real" journalists can't get away with that sort of thing.
To me, that's why this ruling is so scary. It doesn't seem relevant to the case at hand.