Starnes was born in Memphis, Tennessee. During the mid-1990s he studied communication at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where he was an editor of the college newspaper, The Clarion.
He has been news director of a radio station in Sacramento,California and a writer for the Baptist Press. Starnes joined Fox News Channel in 2005 as a radio news anchor. In 2007, he was assigned to cover Barack Obama's presidential campaign and traveled as an embedded reporter in the final weeks of the 2008 election. During that time, he also filled in on occasion as the radio network's White House correspondent. He reported from the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. In 2011, Starnes was named the host of Fox News & Commentary.
Starnes became a featured Fox News columnist in 2011. His column is read online and through syndication.