Journalist Amy Goodman says covering Standing Rock has been 'chilling'

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    Amy Goodman describes covering Standing Rock

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Amy Goodman describes covering Standing Rock 04:39

Story highlights

  • Amy Goodman, the host of "Democracy Now!" tells Brian Stelter that continued coverage of Standing Rock is important
  • Goodman was issued an arrest warrant by North Dakota authorities in September; charges were later dropped
  • Goodman: "The violations are extreme"

(CNN)Amy Goodman, the host of "Democracy Now!", described her experience covering the Standing Rock protests to CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday, including the moment when North Dakota authorities tried to arrest her.

The veteran journalist traveled to North Dakota to cover the Native American-led protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which the Standing Rock Sioux tribe says will jeopardize its water supply and cut through land that is sacred.
    Goodman told Stelter that her experience had been "chilling" and recounted the Labor Day weekend skirmish between pipeline guards and Native American protesters, who call themselves "water protectors," that led to an arrest warrant being issued in her name.
      "Native Americans came up to a site that the Dakota Access Pipeline was excavating. The Native Americans didn't expect this," she said.
      "The pipeline guards unleashed dogs and pepper spray. ... We showed the video of a dog with its mouth and nose dripping with blood. When this video, when we published it that night, it went viral, 14 million views on Facebook. Every network including CNN ran that video coverage," Goodman said
      Five days later, she said, North Dakota Authorities filed criminal trespassing charges against her. Goodman continued to cover the standoff at Standing Rock, and was hit with another charge, "a riot charge" that could have "landed me in jail for a month to a year," she told Stelter.
      "Fortunately, after covering more of the standoff that weekend, a judge intervened and said no, though the prosecutor and the sheriff have said they still can find another way to arrest me," she said.
      But Goodman was keen to emphasize that this story wasn't about her.
      "That was a message to all journalists: 'Do not come to North Dakota,' and that's why it's so serious," she said.
      Goodman said Standing Rock's story needed to be told, especially given the "new deadline of December 5." Authorities have told the Standing Rock Sioux they must leave by then, but demonstrators say they're not budging.
      "It's the largest unification of Native Americans. Over 200 tribes from Latin America, the United States and Canada have gathered. the largest such gathering in decades," she said, "and right now, this weekend is the final standoff."
      As North Dakota's harsh winter approaches, conditions on the ground, she said, are likely to become increasingly dire.
      "We're talking about in sub-subfreezing weather, Native American protectors being hit with rubber bullets, water cannons, sound cannons. The violations are extreme," she said.
      The Morton County Sheriff's Office has said protesters have set fires, and at one point "attempted to flank and attack the law enforcement line from the west," describing protesters actions as "very aggressive."
      Challenged by Stelter as to whether "Democracy Now!'s" coverage, despite being an independent program, could be seen as being skewed in favor of the protesters, Goodman disagreed.
      "What we do is what all the media should do. We're there on the ground giving voice to the voiceless. We have a responsibility to bring out these images, " she said.