I don't think you're missing anything, and I'm glad to read this, and glad that you replied to the interview (though "smut" may have been a little strong). But I do believe that the only way for this conversation to become anything besides a rhetorical race to convince people to side either with you or with Pink is to begin a rigorous, scientific comparison:
What predictions does each education model (the sales model, the engagement model) make about how to better educate students in the classroom? What does each model suggest as far as ways to improve our education system as a whole?
It is extremely important in this case not to forget the wisdom of E. P. Box: "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." When we argue that education is about "sales" or "engagement," we are not really arguing about education itself. We are merely arguing about the most useful context in which to think about it.
(And I, like you, I think, am extremely dubious that studying education in the context of "selling" and "convincing" would have a positive effect on our students and teachers.)