Brookings was obviously promoting the report strenuously, and was well prepared for loads of interviews. Its advice will reflect its own priorities and should be checked against other points of view. The Institute is quite clear, however, that it found a “mixed picture” where green jobs are concerned. It also is clear that its report has numerous limitations and discusses them, as well as its methodology, at length:

The clean economy remains an enigma: hard to assess. Not only do “green” or “clean” activities and jobs related to environmental aims pervade all sectors of the U.S. economy; they also remain tricky to define and isolate—and count.

If the Bay Citizen was too dour, though, some of its competitors were too optimistic. The headline on a short, simplistic USA Today articleread, “Green jobs are scoring greener salaries; Pay and hiring are up in booming clean-tech sector,” as if that were the case nationwide. A piece in the Chicago Tribune made the “seminal” study seem a little more end-all-be-all than it actually is. During an interview with Platts Energy Week Brookings’ Muro freely admitted the data will continue to evolve. was more circumspect, and Bryan Walsh’s column for Time was more comprehensive.

It was nice to see the Brookings report, which is undoubtedly a useful piece of research, get so much coverage. It’s just a shame that so many news outlets carved off only the pieces most useful to them.

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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.