During a panel discussion on Amazon.com offering discounts to consumers who are parents -- a discount mechanism completely on the honor system since the company cannot verify claims of parenthood -- MSNBC The Cycle co-host Toure Neblett justified lying to take advantage of the discount, saying "nobody was getting hurt here."
"If a lie is being told to a corporation, it's not really a lie," Neblett quipped, shortly after calling a lie about qualifying for the discount "a noble lie." For his part, Business Insider writer Josh Barro also excused dishonestly benefiting from the discount because such discount gimmicks are "price discrimination" and because brick-and-mortar Amazon competitors are supposedly the victims of the cutthroat corporate suits at Amazon [watch the video excerpt below the page break]:
If you're Best Buy, your business is being severely disrupted by the fact that people are going and buying from Amazon, and if you're up against a competitor who doesn't seem focused on making a profit anytime in the short term, then that's a challenge.
To her credit, co-host Krystal Ball was having none of it:
Well, I still say, even if it is a corporation that you're lying to, it is still a lie.
That's when co-host Abby Huntsman chimed in with the suggestion that there was a "gender" divide on the ethical dilemma, with women being more disposed to have a problem with falsely claiming qualification for a discount and men being more amenable to it.
Whatever, Neblett, insisted, "It's a noble lie!" adding moments later, "If a lie is told to a corporation, it's not really a lie."
Barro then interjected another example, saying he saw no problem with taking advantage of a romantic getaway discount for your hotel room even though you're on a business trip.
"There ya go, Josh!" Neblett replied in agreement.