HMM: Cochran Camp Had Ability to Mute Audience During 'Hijacked' Call
Barbour was using FreeConferenceCall.com to host the call: the call-in info that Johnson tweeted is a line belonging to that company. I called their help line to confirm that 530-881-1000 is one of their lines.
FreeConferenceCall.com's "Instructions" page explains how the host can mute the audience. I also confirmed this on the help line.
No matter what version of their product a host is using, a host can always mute the audience.
Folks: if you were hosting a similarly sized call of great importance to your client, wouldn't knowing how to mute the audience so you can speak be the first thing you'd think about prior to commencing the meeting?
Helpfully, we don't need to wonder if or when the topic of muting occurred to Barbour. Listen to the audio: during the approximately seven minutes of Barbour talk time prior to the interruption, Barbour asked all listening on the line to mute their phones for everyone's benefit. He did it right at the beginning, and he repeated the request several more times.
Scroll back up to that Barbour tweet: "... had done calls on this exact line in exact same way before."
So: an experienced communications director, using a conference call service that he has used multiple times in the past, choosing to end a call on a topic his team felt important enough to hold a press conference on earlier in the day, and whose team immediately used the incident of a crackpot caller to slam an opposition-supporting journalist and the opposition in general ... could have avoided the entire incident by pressing "*5" at any time, of which he would have to be an incompetent comm director to not know.
Or maybe it was Johnson. But after the Cochran team's shameless, soulless exploitation of Mississsippi blacks, kinda suspicious that a potential incident of shamelessly exploiting Mississippi blacks came up again.