Peter A Goldsbury
In this situation, what people did not say was as clear as what people did say. In this connection, have you come across the term sakura in relation to public speaking?
From Apple's Japanese Dictionary:
〔大道商人の〕a decoy, a plant，｟米俗｠ a shill; 〔劇場の〕a claqueur，｟集合的に｠ a claque; 〔競売の〕a by-bidder
さくらを使う｜employ a decoy