UPDATE: James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute's blog has more, including the possibility that the original story misidentified "Bain Consulting," as well as a theory as to the story's original source.
It looks like someone ran with something they thought was too good to check.
A retraction described as a "Correction" currently on CNBC's web site tells readers: "A previous story incorrectly reported that Mitt Romney's former firm, Bain & Co., was part of a team of consulting companies that advised President Barack Obama on a decision to shutter car dealerships during the auto bailout. Bain & Co. said it has no connection to the "Bain Consulting" firm referenced in government documents." Several bloggers excerpted the original report, including Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Some of what he captured follows:
A 2010 report by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program reveals that Bain — referred to as “Bain Consulting” — was one of several private sector firms the Obama auto team turned to for advice as it wrestled with what to do about the dealerships. (Romney spent years at Bain Capital, a spin-off of Bain & Company, and also served as interim chief executive of Bain & Company during a turnaround effort.) …
“An expert from Bain Consulting also stated many dealerships have too much inventory relative to their market area, particularly in smaller markets or markets where there are more dealers than necessary, because they have to have sufficient diversity in their inventory to cover the manufacturer’s entire portfolio and to meet varied customer needs,” the inspector general’s report said.
“This leads to higher floor plan financing costs per vehicle. In addition, because it is difficult for a smaller dealership to match its mix of inventory with actual customer demand, they end up with higher quantities of slow moving inventory that can lead to a need for increased customer and dealer incentives to sell their vehicles.”
Well, it "just so happens" that "Bain Consulting" is really a very large firm known as Bain & Company, which is "one of the world's leading business consulting firms" with "47 offices in 30 countries around the world." It has "worked with the majority of the Global 500."
It also has absolutely no relationship to the Bain Capital Mitt Romney once headed and whose investment and job-creating record have become issues in the GOP presidential nomination race.
Morrissey's Hot Air item went up at 10 p.m. last night, and appears to have been the first blog reaction to the, uh, "news." CNBC's "correction" has a 9:32 a.m. Friday time-stamp. This Google Web search as of 11:30 a.m. today indicates that the original story went up 15 hours ago, or at about 8:30 p.m. last night. This means that no one at CNBC, the country's alleged leading business network, caught the difference between Romney's Bain and the $2 billion management consulting firm for about 13 hours.
Our press really is in the best of hands, isn't it?
Morrissey's posted reaction to the "correction":
Go ahead and scratch everything I wrote above. This is what I get for having trusted CNBC. Apologies to Team Mitt for having passed along bad information.
I suspect that Captain Ed's under-the-breath reaction was much stronger.
Open question: Was CNBC burned by an ignorant Obama administration, Obama campaign or SIGTARP tipster?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.