Myth: Other fandoms get more respect than furry fans.Any time any kind of fandom is represented in the mass media, it's for comic relief. The Emmy-award winning show Fraiser had a science-fiction convention episode where they portrayed the attendees as sexually-repressed and socially-challenged, and a big-time author as suffering from psychotic delusions. Kevin Smith has made an entire career out of this stereotype, up to and including appearing on The Tonight Show with the specific purpose of mocking the attendees. Even the infamous "furry" episode of CSI was followed by an episode portraying goths in a worse light.
Myth: Other fandoms do not have the reputation for sexual perversity that furries do.Harry Potter slash has gotten major news coverage. And many folks have boycotted DragonCon, one of the biggest sci-fi cons, because of charges of child molestation levied against the con's founder.
Myth: News stories portray furry in the worst possible light.On this, I'm going to agree with chipotle's point that people only remember the worst bits. The worst part about the Vanity Fair article is that it interviewed real people; the people who come off the worst are the "furry-haters". Just like how role-playing games have gone from Satanism to a joke on Spongebob Squarepants ... just like how goth has gone from, er, Satanism to kid's entertainment icons like on Danny Phantom and Disney's Fillmore ... furry culture is going to blow over. (If it already hasn't.)
Myth: The media only want to show us in the worst possible light.While there are some reporters who do, others are genuinely curious. And the current attitude of locking the doors and not talking to anyone only exacerbates the situation -- it makes what goes on sound far more exciting than what is going on. When Discovery Channel interviewed furries for their TV show, the phrase, "Cameras aren't allowed inside the convention" sounds far more salacious than what was really going on.
Myth: Avoiding media at all costs, and getting completely hysterical when any news comes out which has anything negative, is the only way to keep furry fandom safe.Safe from what, exactly? Puritanism aside, the news media have always had a reputation for aggrandizing the negative. More than ever, we live in an era where television, radio, and internet portals exist for the primary purpose of reinforcing hateful stereotypes. Unfortunately, getting hot and bothered about those fora is counter-productive -- they exist for the purpose of inciting controversy. The decade of the 2000s has shown the maxim of, "If you're explaining, you're losing." The proper way to fight media negativity is with media positivity. (I'm especially proud of venues like Anthrocon where they're getting icons of entertainment such as Peter Laird to show up and lend legitimacy.)
Myth: All furries are skunk-fucking bestiality-fetishists.This mythi is reducto ad absurdum. Not everyone who played Grant Theft Auto turned into a career felon. Not everyone who read Anne Rice became a goth homosexual. Not everyone who read Harry Potter became a pedophile. Not everyone who listened to rock music committed suicide. Not everyone who went to church grew up Christian. Once again with "explaining and losing", anyone who makes such a claim isn't going to let any silly thing like facts and reason dissuade them, so arguing with them is a waste of time.
Myth: all furries wear costumes.I didn't realize this one at first, but it's becoming increasingly clear that a lot of folks think "furry" = "fursuiter". The fursuiter is the most photogenic of the con-goers; after all, people in t-shirts and jeans aren't very exciting to look at. Television's portrayal of furries always includes them, not to mention cheap jabs in comics always have someone in a costume. I suspect a large part of this is that the prime movers of furrydom --- the writers and artists -- don't get a lot of face time in the media. For example, I don't think people believe that Peter Laird wears a turtle suit all the time.
Myth: ___'s not "furry".No, ____ is furry. Furry is a tag, not a box. And some things are more furry than others.
Myth: Sex is bad.Sadly, I live in the United States where even sex education is scary and controversial. In SeanBaby's article on the ten worst fandoms, even he had to admit that at least furries get some, and on a regular basis.
The most wonderful thing about furry culture is how it emphasizes social grouping and interaction more than any other fandom. It's not about collecting, speculation, and commercialism; it's not about determinist fantasies of how life should exist; it's not about blind worship of corporate intellectual properties; it's about people who think furries are neat. And that's awesome.