NEW YORK â€” Michael Moore has taken aim at Fox News for its politics countless times over his long career. But the provocateur filmmaker now believes that the News Corp. [NWS]-owned cable channel could soon be caught up in something far more nefarious than simple ideological sins.
â€œIâ€™m interested to see what happens with Fox News and phone hacking,â€ Moore said, referring to the News Corp. scandal that has resulted in a number of arrests and high-level resignations within the British section of Rupert Murdochâ€™s empire. â€œI really canâ€™t believe it just happens in Great Britain. Because really, who cares about just hacking phones over there?
â€œIâ€™ll make a prediction about something â€” I think the phone-hacking thing Murdoch is involved in … is going to be investigated, and it will be found that itâ€™s been going on here too,â€ he said. â€œI just have a gut feeling.â€
To this point, no U.S. subsidiary has been implicated, though U.K. prosecutors have explored the possibility of bringing suit in the U.S. because of the possibility that U.K. citizensâ€™ phones were hacked while they were on U.S. soil.
Moore spoke Sunday at a Tribeca Film Festival event with actress Susan Sarandon, with the two elaborating on their general fears of government and other forms of surveillance.
â€œIâ€™ve gotten my (FBI) file twice,â€ Sarandon said. â€œI know my phone was tapped. If theyâ€™re not surveilling you, then everyone else has cameras on phones.â€ She added, â€œI was denied security clearance to go to the White House (next week), and I donâ€™t know why.â€
Moore chimed in. â€œI never think about it,â€ he said. â€œIt would unwind me,â€ before going on to say, â€œI assume everything Iâ€™m saying in an email or saying on the telephone is being looked at.â€
Never shy about voicing his feelings toward the right, Moore took aim at a host of other targets, particularly those who he said played on fear to boost the Republicansâ€™ presidential chances this year.
â€œ(Look at) the fact that Mitt Romney can be dead (even) with Obama in the polls … even though his approval rating is at 35 percent,â€ Moore said. â€œItâ€™s amazing that that many people who donâ€™t like him will still vote for him because notâ€ â€” Moore paused â€” â€œhim,â€ referring to Obama.
But Moore also went after some liberal sacred cows, notably Davis Guggenheim, whose â€œWaiting for Supermanâ€ is often regarded as a liberal-friendly cri de coeur about the state of the public-education system. â€œI hated that film,â€ Moore said. â€œThe point I was left with was that teachers and unions are the problem. And that is not the problem.â€
Hollywood studios also came into Mooreâ€™s sights, particularly with how Paramount handled two recent movies. â€œâ€˜Hugoâ€™ was marketed as a family film, and itâ€™s not a family film. Itâ€™s not for kids,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s an adult film with kids in it. Same with â€˜Jeff, Who Lives at Home,â€™â€ Moore said, referring to Sarandonâ€™s recent offbeat comedy. â€œIf a studio doesnâ€™t get your work …â€
â€œOr,â€ Sarandon interjected, â€œtheyâ€™re made for so little money that they donâ€™t want to invest the money … (so) it disappears,â€ she said, apparently referring to the marketing effort for â€œJeff,â€ made for a modest budget.
Moore has not announced the subject of his new film (he last directed â€œCapitalism: A Love Storyâ€ more than two years ago) and declined to specify Sunday what it might be about. But in response to a question about whether heâ€™d make a film about immigration policy, he did allow that he thought it was a worthy subject.
â€œThatâ€™s a film that needs to be done,â€ he said.