Originally Posted by Victarion
I imagine there were people going off what they observed-the disappearance of Batman and Bruce Wayne-and spouting what would amount to "conspiracy theories" without any hard evidence. Take into account that Batman was gone but Bruce hung around for a while before he went into seclusion (he didn't drop out of the public eye until after he found out about the possibility of the clean energy project being weaponized). Going back to my point about the people who were putting out conspiracy theories about Bruce being Batman, the Dent Act was also implemented at this time. History shows that when something so momentous is passed, every news agency is going to focus in on it. So those claims were likely drowned out in the media frenzy surrounding the Dent Act.
Edit: How many people in Gotham would've connected the Tumbler to Wayne Enterprises? I thought Earle had shuffled most of that stuff out of the public eye when he stuck Fox in a dead end position at the company.
Your idea for the Riddler is quite close to some fanfictions that were posted here before we got confirmation of Bane and Catwoman. The problem is that it retreads the Mr Reese subplot which addressed the idea of someone putting 2 and 2 together to deduce Batman is Bruce Wayne. If Nolan had felt it were important, Reese could've been brought back, interrogated by Bane, and killed.
That would've been a great addition to Blake's dialogue, Infinity.
During the scenes of Bane's Gotham, they could've had some propaganda posters or grafiti about Batman being in league with Bane. Or maybe speculation from one or two of the officers working with Gordon and Blake (it would make more sense, I think, if it were one of Jones's men). Likewise, a poster in the slummy area where Selina lived, or the bar where she met Stryver, saying "HARVEY DENT IS WATCHING YOU" would've been a nice touch.
Where is everyone getting the fact that Bruce was out in public during the clean air project? For all I know he did that behind closed doors and had Fox handle it all.
The case with Reese was different, because he figured things out while being inside Wayne Enterprises. The Riddler would have had his deducing done through investigation on the outside.