Presumably borrowed from botantical terminology, this term is being used to highlight bright spots in a failing economy... analogous to new growth among a wasteland of dead plants and weeds.
(1) One green shoot from the high unemployment numbers is that those who still have jobs are finding less traffic congestion during their commutes.
(2) "To get out of high rate mortgages. we are seeing progress in -- in the money market mutual funds, and in the business lending area. And I think as those green shoots begin to appear in different markets -- and as some confidence begins to come back -- that will begin the positive dynamic that brings our economy back." --Ben Bernanke (60 Minutes interview, March 2009)
A general reference to all members of the media (press, radio, TV, Internet) who play on public emotions to turn a minor event into a global crisis... typically with minimal, if any, actual facts or data
John Stewart did a great spoof on the swine media last night on the Daily Show. After showing some clips as examples, he mentioned that he's secretly working on a cure for "raccoon flu" in his basement lab. He says there's more money in developing cures for diseases before they exist! Brilliant!
The swine media will probably take that seriously, and run with it.