As a curious person myself YOUR definition as explicated here speaks to me. And for the most part I think many hackers are mostly interested in their own geekish pursuits and harbor no malice.
However, I feel that much of the “hacker label problem” is a clear and ongoing public relations disaster that has definite roots with actions of other, shall we say, exalted members of the self-described hacking community. I think to a degree you are selling the technical intelligence of modern square-quote non-hackers short. Placing the fault for the mis-definition of “hacker” with everyone but the those who claim its title sounds like a denial.
By failing to delineate the term more exactingly with the broader public, hackers invite (and some, like “anonymous”, revel in) the terms negative connotations, at least in the public sense. We, as individuals can agree all we like about our own understanding of the term yet the fact remains, I and those like me are not the one who need convincing, the problem itself is much much larger.
To that end (even as you didn’t discuss this angle in the show) I also think its a cop out to blame the media, as that is a classic political move generally cited as reticence on the part of politicians, I hardly think the public relations wing of the hacker community be granted an exception.
As part of my own curiosity, I’ve wondered for years why no one in the hacker community seems seriously interested in the motivations and understandings of those who don’t self-identify as hackers. After all I am not fond of the term myself even as I’ve in a sense come out of similar technically oriented cultures in my own youth.
I’m glad you taken the time to share your thoughts on the matter, I just wish the rest of hacker community would stop blaming everyone else for a problem that rest squarely on their shoulders, and not on the implied or assumed stupidity of everyone else around them. The hacker community could speak directly to those people if it wished to and it is a shame that it hasn’t.