Batchelor was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to an Iranian-Assyrian/American family, and was raised primarily in Lower Merion Township of Montgomery County, in Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district. His mother and father both served in the United States Army during World War II; his father also served in the Korean War. Batchelor is the eldest of five brothers. He is a 1970 graduate of Princeton University and a 1976 graduate of Union Theological Seminary. To report on breaking news, Batchelor and a small staff traveled to Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, and Taiwan, landing in Taipei to broadcast for the week leading up to the 2004 elections, when, on the last day of electioneering, both the president and the vice-president were shot and wounded by an unknown assailant.