NEW YORK — 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.-owned cable channel could soon be caught up in something far more nefarious than simple ideological sins.
“I’m interested to see what happens with Fox News and phone hacking,” 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 Murdoch’s empire. “I really can’t believe it just happens in Great Britain. Because really, who cares about just hacking phones over there?
“I’ll make a prediction about something — I think the phone-hacking thing Murdoch is involved in ... is going to be investigated, and it will be found that it’s been going on here too,” he said. “I just have a gut feeling.”
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. citizens’ 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.
“I’ve gotten my (FBI) file twice,” Sarandon said. “I know my phone was tapped. If they’re not surveilling you, then everyone else has cameras on phones.” She added, “I was denied security clearance to go to the White House (next week), and I don’t know why.”
Moore chimed in. “I never think about it,” he said. “It would unwind me,” before going on to say, “I assume everything I’m saying in an email or saying on the telephone is being looked at.”
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 Republicans’ presidential chances this year.
“(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,” Moore said. “It’s amazing that that many people who don’t like him will still vote for him because not” — Moore paused — “him,” referring to Obama.
But Moore also went after some liberal sacred cows, notably Davis Guggenheim, whose “Waiting for Superman” is often regarded as a liberal-friendly cri de coeur about the state of the public-education system. “I hated that film,” Moore said. “The point I was left with was that teachers and unions are the problem. And that is not the problem.”
Hollywood studios also came into Moore’s sights, particularly with how Paramount handled two recent movies. “‘Hugo’ was marketed as a family film, and it’s not a family film. It’s not for kids,” he said. “It’s an adult film with kids in it. Same with ‘Jeff, Who Lives at Home,’” Moore said, referring to Sarandon’s recent offbeat comedy. “If a studio doesn’t get your work ...”
“Or,” Sarandon interjected, “they’re made for so little money that they don’t want to invest the money ... (so) it disappears,” she said, apparently referring to the marketing effort for “Jeff,” made for a modest budget.
Moore has not announced the subject of his new film (he last directed “Capitalism: A Love Story” more than two years ago) and declined to specify Sunday what it might be about. But in response to a question about whether he’d make a film about immigration policy, he did allow that he thought it was a worthy subject.
“That’s a film that needs to be done,” he said.