Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pearl's (Pre-Recorded) Segment on NBC's Today Show

The segment that Micheal Pearl noted on the NGJ website finally aired on NBC's Today Show on December 28th.

I find it interesting that the segment notes a more conservative estimate of book sales (700K), closer to the older citation of 650, 000 copies of To Train Up a Child that appeared on Pearl's site prior to Lydia Schatz' death.  In recent months, Pearl and other media outlets have cited a sale figure of 1 million copies, and some have informally claimed that the book's circulation exceeds 1 million.  It's difficult to keep up with Pearl's statistics in interviews, because he shifts in and out of citing statistics concerning numbers of American parents who accept spanking in general and not just those who are limited to following his specific methods.  I've heard him claim that 2 million parents follow his methods, then he sites greater numbers that seem to pertain to spanking alone.  He uses this ambiguity to his advantage to inflate the support for his techniques.

Even the Pearl supporters who appeared on the Anderson Show admitted that they do not follow Pearl's techniques without qualification by declining the use of the recommended plumbing line.  I've known many other parents (here's an example) who expressed discomfort over the use of plumbing line but followed the directives about continuing corporal punishment until the child manifests what the parent understands as a "broken" state.

Thanks to this site for offering a near-transcript of the pertinent elements of the Pearl segment on the show (and hat tip to Linda for the info).


Hermana Linda at Why Not Train A Child? pointed out that an  LA Times article that coincided with the Today Show segment implied that the Pearl supporter who used to offer a free online copy of the text of the book has removed it because of a change of opinion about the book.  I agree with Hermana Linda that the host of that site expresses a questionable rationale for pulling the book, or at least one that is not exactly limited to the terms that the LA Times article suggested.  It seems that the Christian Home blogger expressed just as much concern that critics will only use the copy advance their opposition to the Pearls and their methods, though she also claims that she deleted the text because she did not give the book an unqualified and blanket endorsement.  It does not appear that she disavowed it.  She doesn't want critics to enjoy easy access to the book, wrongly mistaking confirmation bias of critics for distortion of the book's context.  Providing the text eliminates the concerns about context.

Readers at Why Not Train a Child? astutely pointed out that the full text of the book can still be found online on the Internet Archive and on a mirror page posted by a critic of Pearl's Method that Linda's post also mentions.