The Feed kicked off the second week of its second season with what seemed like a cruel tease of Back to the Future technology only to lead us into decidedly heavier news. The riots and breakouts on the Manus Island detention centre are troubling and depressing realities to our current asylum seeker policy are always worthy of more TV coverage. Likewise the equally under-reported deaths occurring in Qatar as the country employs large numbers of migrant workers to build the stadiums. It speaks to the writers and hosts that these topics don’t drag the show down in the early minutes.
Closer to home, the quasi-infamous Neknominate drinking challenge was under scrutiny next. For those not in the know, the phenomenon involved one person (usually young, usually male) sculling a pint of beer, filming it and posting the video online, calling out two of their mates to one-up the manner in which they drank. Naturally, this has been viewed with much distaste from older crowds and the media, especially after five deaths have been attributed to the challenge.
The way an idea spreads, especially when the web is involved, is troubling. The presenters acknowledged their own part in making a potentially dangerous activity ‘cool’ by reporting on it, which is great, and the story itself is surely worth talking about. It certainly recalls the famous 2003 coined Streisand Effect, and unfortunately, there’s hardly likely to be an easy answer to recurring phenomena like this.
The Abbot Point Coal Terminal expansion, and dumping sludge on the Great Barrier Reef, is a topic that immediately fires people up. All credit to The Feed for being able to present an unpopular argument (that the expansion is potentially beneficial, especially to the local community) alongside the more obviously popular one without demeaning or making fun of its proponents. Nonetheless, even if this does create Bowen jobs, where should the but buck stop? It’s difficult to imagine a world where we talk about the reef we used to have.
Lastly and briefly, Chin Wag with Lee Lin Chin continues to amaze. In a more perfect world, this would be its own weekly program.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Feed airs Monday to Thursday, 7:30pm (repeated 10:30pm) on SBS2