Bloomberg claims that hard-right groups are lining up to back misleading websites and fake journalists who attack Musk’s business empire.
The focus of the attacks is partly true. His businesses were built, legally, with the help of billions in government contracts and incentives for renewable energy and space transport.
But the stories are going on to accuse Musk of fraud and wasting taxpayer dollars. Three conservative sites have run negative pieces about Musk—by a nonexistent writer named “Shepard Stewart”. These stories include “Elon Musk Continues to Blow Up Taxpayer Money With Falcon 9” and “Elon Musk: Faux Free Marketeer and National Disgrace”. Two later retracted the stories.
Sam Jaffe, managing director of Cairn Energy Research Advisors said that whoever is behind the attacks is aiming at Musk personally because they fear he could go into politics. The pattern is the same which were levelled at Hillary Clinton when it became clear she would be running.
There were allegations of fraud and negligence levied at Clinton during the presidential campaign which successfully cemented the public’s perception of her as shady.
“It’s the exact same thing as Musk. There’s a portion of the political spectrum that is scared to death of Musk as politician. They see him as a threat. They’re starting that process.”
One anti-Musk website, Stop Elon From Failing Again launched earlier this year with the mission of becoming a “one-stop database on stopping Elon Musk.” The site combines news aggregated from mainstream sources with pickups from conservative think tanks, plus some of its own posts.
The site is backed by the Citizens for the Republic political action committee, which is led by Laura Ingraham, a right-wing radio host currently under consideration for White House press secretary.
One of the site’s most recent pieces, produced by the conservative Heritage Foundation, compared Musk to “Enron and Bernie Madoff.”
Musk’s SpaceX, which competes with the Boeing- and Lockheed Martin-backed United Launch Alliance, was also targeted this year. The website “Who Is Elon Musk?” produced a stream of stories critical of SpaceX and Musk, just as the former was being considered for government contracts.