I saw the following line in an article in Forbes (April 27) dealing with President Obama’s release of his long-form birth certificate:
"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers."
-President Obama, on the controversy, stoked by Donald Trump, over whether he was born in the United States
As I was unfamiliar with the phrase carnival barker. I looked for the meaning on on-line dictionaries, and found the definition: "one who hangs out outside a party and warns people not to go in for any reason" (my emphasis) at Urban Dictionary.
Barker, as I understand, means "a person who stands outside a place where there is entertainment and shouts to people to go in," as Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines.
I was puzzled why barker, who is supposed to solicit people to come in, comes to mean one who warns people not to go in simply by being prefixed with carnival. Can somebody explain to me why? Is the definition at Urban Dictionary right?