Bloomberg Businessweek

THE TROLLS ARE COMING

Are business rivals behind online attacks on Elon Musk? | Critics say the Tesla CEO “gets subsidy after subsidy he doesn’t need”

On Sept. 2 the conservative web magazine the Federalist published an article titled “Elon Musk Continues to Blow Up Taxpayer Money With Falcon 9.” The author was identified as Shepard Stewart. Two days earlier, the Stewart byline appeared on a piece on the Libertarian Republic website called “Here’s How Elon Musk Stole $5 Billion in Taxpayer Dollars.” Two days before that, the Liberty Conservative site carried a Stewart article headlined “Elon Musk: Faux Free Marketeer and National Disgrace.”

Funny thing, though: Shepard Stewart isn’t a real person. “Definitely a fake,” says Gavin Wax, editor-in-chief of the Liberty Conservative. A chagrined Wax says the “Stewart” character “went totally dark on

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