Errol Barnett

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Errol Barnett
Errol Barnett
Born (1983-04-03) 3 April 1983 (age 41)
Milton Keynes, England
NationalityBritish, American
EducationB.A., UCLA, 2008
Occupation(s)Anchor, correspondent
Years active2001–present
Notable credits
SpouseAriana Tolbert (married 2019 - present)

Errol Barnett (born 3 April 1983) is the first and only Black British broadcaster on American television.[1] The Emmy-award winner is a British-born American anchor and national correspondent for CBS News is based in New York City.[2] He covered the Trump administration in Washington D.C., anchored CNN Newsroom and hosted CNN International's cultural affairs program Inside Africa. During his two years at the helm of the award-winning show Barnett reported from half the continent including Senegal, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.[3]

Early life[edit]

Errol Barnett was born in Milton Keynes, England to Michael Christie and Pamela, an English woman from Liverpool. Gladstone Christie, his Jamaican grandfather, was one of 500 Caribbean aircrew serving with the British Royal Air Force during WWII, afterward relocating to England as part of the Windrush generation.[4] Barnett has English, German and Jamaican heritage.[5] He has one older brother, Danny, and older sister, Natalie, who died.[5]

His mother later married Gary Barnett, a US Air Force sergeant who served in the Gulf War before moving the family to Phoenix. After spending the first decade of his life in England, Barnett attended Garden Lakes Elementary and Westview High School, in Avondale, Arizona, before Channel One News hired him in 2001 relocating to Los Angeles.[6]

Channel One and UCLA[edit]

The youth oriented Channel One hired Barnett, their youngest anchor/reporter at age 18, to work alongside Maria Menounos, Seth Doane, Gotham Chopra among others. While also taking college classes, Barnett covered Barack Obama's breakout DNC keynote speech, reported from the United Nations when Colin Powell presented flawed WMD intelligence and from the US Capitol during passage of the Homeland Security Act.

Barnett was chosen as one of Teen People magazine's "20 Teens Who Will Change The World" for his early work.[7] After being accepted to UCLA he left Channel One to complete his undergraduate studies.[8] At UCLA Barnett received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a focus on international relations.[9] After graduation, in July 2008, Barnett was hired by CNN.

CNN (2008-2016)[edit]

CNN initially assigned Barnett to report on the rise in influence of social media and in 2008 he was part of the most viewed streaming event in history during President Obama's Inauguration on In 2010, he anchored a noon eastern news-hour on CNN International from CNN Abu Dhabi focusing on the Arab Spring uprising, which was part of the network's Peabody-award winning coverage. As a CNN foreign correspondent, he was based in Johannesburg, South Africa covering the death of Nelson Mandela the Oscar Pistorius murder trial and various miner strikes.

Inside Africa[edit]

Barnett also hosted the network's longest running feature program Inside Africa from 2011 to 2014. The weekly half-hour documentary earned awards for its depiction of the continent,[10] with Barnett traveling to and reporting from twenty-two countries in his adventurous self-described "journey of discovery."

CNN Newsroom[edit]

While based in Atlanta, Georgia Barnett anchored CNN Newsroom leading coverage of the Ferguson, Missouri protests, death of Robin Williams and the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. Barnett became the focus of an Internet meme during coverage of the protests with viewers noting Barnett's response to his co-anchor's suggestion that police use water cannons on demonstrators. Buzzfeed described Barnett's "side-eye" expression as "did that just happen" and "is this real life?"[11]

CBS News (2016-present)[edit]

CBS News hired Barnett during the 2016 election as a Washington, D.C. based correspondent and anchor appearing on CBS This Morning, the CBS Evening News and Face the Nation. Currently, he is based in New York City as a national correspondent and anchor of CBS News 24/7, its streaming network.[12] His coverage includes the Presidency of Donald Trump, artificial intelligence, extreme weather and various breaking news events. He also conducts high-interest interviews; his chat with Wikipedia's top editor was viewed more than two million times.[13]

Secret Service incident[edit]

In 2018, the Secret Service issued a rare statement[14] after a viral interaction with Barnett, following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As Barnett asked then-Presidential advisor Jared Kushner about his relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, a Secret Service agent "physically prevented" him. As the Washington Post reported, "Barnett can be seen attempting to ask Kushner a question as he makes his way off the plane, before a Secret Service agent appears to block his way. Barnett can then be seen showing his CBS and White House press credentials to one of the agents, who responds, 'I don’t give a damn who you are, there’s a time and a place.'

In response to the backlash, the Secret Service said, "the actions were taken solely in response to an abrupt movement by an unknown individual who later identified themselves as a member of the media." On CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, Barnett responded "the video speaks for itself".[14][15][16]

Joe Biden interview[edit]

In the lead up to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election then-Vice President Joe Biden called Barnett a "junkie" in response to his question about cognitive abilities.[17] As part of a joint virtual convention between NABJ and NAHJ, Barnett asked Biden if he had taken a cognitive test, as his opponent, President Donald Trump, insisted he should.[18]

Biden responded, "No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on, man. That’s like saying to you, before you got on this program if you had taken a test were you taking cocaine or not. What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?" Barnett asked the question again to which Biden responded, "Well, if he can’t figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about."[19]

Speaker and Moderator[edit]

Barnett regularly moderates discussions and speaks at conferences on the topics of freedom of the press, U.S. politics and various international issues. Those events have included:


  1. ^ "CAA biography of Errol Barnett". CAA Speakers. CAA. Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Errol Barnett with his Emmy Award". Errol Barnett on Instagram. Retrieved 7 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Inside Africa". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. ^ "CBS News' Errol Barnett Marries Ariana Tolbert – See Photos from Their Stunning Jamaica Nuptials". People.
  5. ^ a b "Errol Barnett – My Story". Errol Barnett.
  6. ^ Teen Web Online article Archived 1 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "NPR story". Archived from the original on 13 March 2008.
  8. ^ errolbarnett (26 May 2007). "Errol Barnett's last day with Channel One News". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2018 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ "Get Reelz". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  10. ^ "2013 Salute to Excellence Winners". National Association of Black Journalists.
  11. ^ "CNN Anchor Suggests Using Water Cannons on Ferguson Protestors". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  12. ^ "New roles for Barnett and Luciano at CBS News". AdWeek. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Meet the man behind a third of what's on Wikipedia - YouTube". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ a b Linton, Caroline (17 October 2018). "Secret Service responds to CBS News correspondent being prevented from questioning Jared Kushner". CBS News.
  15. ^ Sonmez, Felicia (17 October 2018). "Secret Service investigating incident in which agent blocked reporter from questioning Jared Kushner". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ Darcy, Oliver. "Secret Service reviewing incident of agent blocking reporter from questioning Kushner". CNN.
  17. ^ "Politico article on Biden calling Barnett a "junkie". Politico. Politco. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  18. ^ "AP article on Trump demanding Biden take cognitive test". AP. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Politico article on Biden calling Barnett a "junkie". Politico. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Icon Mann Honors: Gina Prince-Bythewood Talks 'Woman King' Impact as Reginald Hudlin Celebrated by Kamala Harris". Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  21. ^ Prince, Richard. "Trump Campaign Turns Down Joint Black and Hispanic Journalists Convention". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  22. ^ "International Press Institute: IPI's News Innovation Platform to host digital media event in South Africa". Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  23. ^ World Bank Institute Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "IPI bio". Archived from the original on 5 July 2010.

External links[edit]