Although I'm glad to see libertarianism mentioned more in the media, the current dicussion of libertarianism might be more harmful than helpful. Media personalities like John Stossel are doing a good job explaining some of the basic libertarian positions, but, on the whole, libertarianism is being misrepresented by its critics and by those who hold some libertarian positions but still maintain a pragmatic approach which condones State coercion when it makes sense to them to "get things done".
Many on the Right now express some libertarian ideas, but they aren't libertarians who adhere to libertarianism -- they still value State power in areas which fit their value system, such as military intervention in countries like Afghanistan, or the violation of civil rights when national security is in question, or denial of gays to marry. This creates a situation in the media in which criticism of libertarian ideas are leveled against people who are not libertarians -- the libertarian philosophy has to be taken as a whole for certain ideas to make sense -- it's about integrity. I know that even some libertarians would flinch at the word "philosophy", but in a broad sense of the word, if someone who calls herself a libertarian doesn't have a set of integrated ideas which are consistently maintained, and who violates some libertarian principles for pragmatic reasons, isn't a libertarian.
A "libertarian" isn't really a political type, but simply has certain ideas regarding the political realm -- so that you could say the person is politically libertarian -- otherwise the person is someone who lives their life according to non-intervention, non-coercion principles. The politically libertarian person simply wants to have his or her basic rights protected from coercive violation. In this politically charged environment, because some on the Right have espoused libertarian ideas, statists who feel threatened criticize libertarianism as if it's a political party vying for power, backed by evil corporate monsters.
There is a Libertarian Party, but it's not really relevant, and if it had power, it would give it up in pursuit of a minimalist government. The claim that without a powerful State, corporations would control America is simply a rationalization for State power -- no libertarian wants corporate tyranny, and, in fact, libertarians want a limited government so that large corporations don't have an unfair advantage in the market. The State gives power to corporations -- if government is limited, then all businesses are vulnerable to competition and consumer pleasure or displeasure. Especially in the Information Age, an empowered public can bring down any unscrupulous corporation which is no longer protected by government favors.
The media do libertarians no favors, but the more it's mentioned perhaps people will do their homework. One more point -- when a libertarian, for instance, opposes government control over who can and cannot marry, it's not advocacy for gay marriage, although individual libertarians might advocate gay marriage, but it's simply a non-coercion principle when the action in question is not violating anyone's rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
As I said, trying to understand libertariansim through a conservative who promotes a "small" government but supports government coercion through moral legisation, or a liberal who favors civil liberties but not economic liberty, will always be very misleading and unfair to libertarianism. In the right column of this blog is a link to books which give a comprehensive view of libertarian thought. Libertarianism as it's been understood for decades now by the small faction of libertarians is basically the orginal liberalism, classical liberalism, that inspired the better ideas in the Constitution which don't give liberty-killing power to the State.
Here -- http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2011/04/20/school-reform-benton-harbor-and-the-tea-party/#comments -- is an example of someone who confuses libertarianism with authoritarian coercion -- I don't know how, but he manages to do so. A libertarian will want government to have nothing whatsoever to do with education -- nothing. I realize that many people who maintain some libertarian positions still find some value in individual states managing education at the local level, but a pure libertarian position is to allow the free market to offer educational services and consumers to select what they prefer. The problem of the poor being able to afford education is a separate question which has solutions in the private sector, but first, pertaining to the main issue in the post above -- separation of education and State, pure and simple.
What's going to happen is that public education will deteriorate to the point private online options will capture students who are motivated to learn, leaving public schools to behavioral problems, unfortunate kids who are lost in the system and bureacratic paralysis, thus creating a wider divide between the educated and uneducated -- and in the global, technologically advanced market, class divisions and warfare will only increase. Those who insist on a statist/union approach constantly tweaked by "compassionate" technocrats are doing a disservice to poor children across America -- they apparently care more about the status quo and healthy unions than kids receiving an education. There are dynamic, innovative solutions in the private sector, but until government is limited from being involved, the private sector is at a disadvantage. Those who make monsters out of "corporations" which would provide solutions in the private sector ignore the anti-social State monster that has practically ruined education in inner cities and poorer regions of the country. After all the money that's been poured into public education through the years, the results still stink, and statist solutions from either party will not do any good, whether one wants to call the solution privatization or socialism -- as long as the government is controlling the show and pulling the strings and writing the legislation, it will continue to deteriorate.