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New York station apologizes over anchor’s welfare rant

A New York cable news channel apologized on Wednesday after a “technical error” caused an off-color conversation between a news anchor and a field reporter to be broadcast live during what was supposed to be a commercial break.

News 12 The Bronx anchor Matt Pieper thought the station was off the air when he launched into a tirade against welfare families while preparing to “toss” to field reporter Amy Yensi for a story on school crossing guards.

“Parents should do their fucking job and walk their little kids to school on their own, and not rely on everyone else,” Pieper said. “Kind of like people rely on government assistance for their entire lives.”

Yensi reacted by saying she thought she qualified for government assistance, following up her remarks with “hashtag E-B-T!” A hashtag is a popular feature used for categorizing posts on social media services; E-B-T refers to a debit card-style system of payment most welfare recipients use to purchase groceries and pay bills.

Pieper was seen adjusting his tie and picking his nose before the station dumped in to a commercial break.

After video of the gaffe was posted online, the regional cable channel apologized on its Facebook page.

“As a result of a technical error during a program break this morning, a personal conversation between an anchor and a reporter was unintentionally placed on the air,” the station said. “Steps have been taken to deal with the employees involved and resolve the technical issues. We take this incident extremely seriously and we sincerely apologize to all who may have been offended.”

Pieper and Yensi have since deleted their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).