MSNBC reports on anti-lockdown protesters alleging conspiracy theories like hospitals inflating death counts

NBC correspondent Vaughn HiIlyard: Coronavirus anti-lockdown protesters are “very much a part of the conspiracy theory crowd here”

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Citation From the April 20, 2020, edition of MSNBC’s Live with Ali Veshi

BRIAN WILLIAMS (GUEST ANCHOR): Vaughn Hillyard is near the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix, Maura Barrett is at the Pennsylvania state Capitol in Harrisburg. Vaughn, start us off with what you see there, and what's been going on these past few hours.

VAUGHN HILLYARD (CORRESPONDENT): Yeah, the rally is starting here in just a few minutes here, Brian. You know, the last time I was at a rally outside of here was actually 10 years ago, Brian. It was a Tea Party rally, and I could tell you, a decade later, this has a lot of similar remnants of it here.

You have several hundred folks here, Brian. I've talked to a good number of them. I was talking with a mother earlier, of four, who was out here with her kids. She said that she and her kids are still going to the grocery store with no masks on. Back over here, we're trying to keep some distance away, but over there, you have at least 200 folks that are all standing right next to each other at this time, over here to our left, too.

I was just talking with a gentlemen, and whether he was actually concerned about spreading COVID-19. And he was telling me that he believes that it is being overblown and overhyped. The number of cases, that is, suggesting that hospitals are using heart-related deaths or cancer-related deaths to add to those COVID-19 numbers, as a way of shutting down business. I said, what about President Trump, though, calling for social distancing? Which the folks here are not doing, frankly, Brian. And he told me that it is RINOs, it is folks like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, that are getting the best of President Trump right now.

But they are actually standing over there right now, next to the Bill of Rights monument here at the Arizona state Capitol, believing it is their prerogative to gather together, to shop together where they so please. You know, I was talking with that mother there, and I said, does it concern you that you could have an impact on other people, Brian, and she said, frankly, that she does not — has not seen evidence here in Arizona of widespread death.

You know, the pictures out of New York are very much different than those in Arizona, where I should note, the Republican governor here, Doug Ducey, implemented a stay-at-home order three weeks ago, now. He has maintained over the course of these three weeks that folks should be cautious, folks should be socially distant.

And what has that caused him? Among the few hundred folks here, I saw a sign of one gentleman saying, “I voted for Doug Ducey, not Bill Gates.” And for folks that have been following conspiracy theories, there's lots about Bill Gates having started COVID-19, or attempting to implement chips. This is a group of people, they're very much a part of the conspiracy theory crowd here, Brian.