That's kind of how most discover the real Hacker community though it can evolve to native integration since there is no central bureaucracy to gain citizenship though.
I would argue that it is very much a culture on par with a nationality. The computer hackers are the original digital natives. The original Internet tribe. That's why I equate it to something like a nationality (though a subculture that crosses borders; like minded enthusiasts from all over the world).
Trying to convince the general public; that takes Hollywood and mass media brainwashing so it may very well be a lost cause. But IT focused professionals who should know the difference and will have Hackers by the positive connotations among the readership. This, especially when there are more appropriate terms to use when what one really means is "criminal".
Consider the author's first article; what clarity or value was provided by saying "hacker" instead of simply referring to criminals as criminals? You can search/replace the article and it reads just fine. The only value seems to be sensationalized mis-representation. "Look at me, I'm going to talk about eveeil haxors!! run, fetch your kids, hold them close.. we're talking about the boogieman!!" This added nothing of value to the original article.
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