Ari Melber

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Ari Melber
Ari Melber (2018).png
Ari Naftali Melber

(1980-03-31) March 31, 1980 (age 41)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BA)
Cornell University (JD)
Drew Grant
(m. 2014; div. 2017)

Ari Naftali Melber[1] (born March 31, 1980) is an American attorney and journalist who is the chief legal correspondent for MSNBC and host of The Beat with Ari Melber.

The show premiered on July 24, 2017, and was nominated for a 2020 Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Interview.[2]

In January 2021, The Beat was No. 1 at 6pm in ratings, averaging 2.6 million viewers a night and topping CNN and FOX News.[3] The Beat's ratings[4] mark "MSNBC's best rating ever for the time slot" (Forbes).[5][6][7]

Melber's show has become one of the most viewed shows online, with 13 million monthly YouTube viewers, the most of any MSNBC show, according to the Daily Beast.[8][9] Beat reports are some of the most watched segments online in MSNBC's history.[10]

Columbia Journalism Review dubbed Melber "a remarkably effective interviewer",[11] while New York Times columnist Peter Wehner called him "an outstanding interviewer, among the best on television".[12]

Early life and education[edit]

Melber is Jewish, the son of an Israeli immigrant. His grandparents were Holocaust survivors.[13]

Melber attended Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington, and the University of Michigan where he graduated with an A.B. degree in political science.[14] After college, he moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for Senator Maria Cantwell. He then joined Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign, working the Iowa caucus and as California deputy political director.[15][14][16] When Kerry failed to win the presidency, Melber went on to earn a J.D. degree from Cornell Law School, where he was an editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy[17] and interned at New York County Defender Services, a Manhattan public defender's office.

Melber worked for First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams at Cahill Gordon & Reindel[14] from 2009 to 2013.[17] He also began writing political columns for various news outlets like The Nation, The Atlantic, Reuters, and Politico.[14] MSNBC took note and asked him to serve as a guest host.[14] In April 2015, Melber was named their chief legal correspondent.

Media career[edit]

The Cycle: Ari Melber, Krystal Ball, Touré, and Abby Huntsman (2013)


Melber is a legal analyst for NBC News as well as MSNBC's chief legal correspondent,[18] covering the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Supreme Court.[19]

He has won an Emmy Award for his Supreme Court coverage.[20]

Melber reported that the firing of FBI Director James Comey could trigger an investigation into obstruction of justice on May 9, 2017 - the day Comey was fired - quoting a former FBI official who told him the firing raised potential obstruction.[21] A probe was announced on May 18, 2017, which included an obstruction investigation.

Melber reported President Trump's actions toward Ukraine provided a potential case of impeachment for "bribery" in October.[22] The next month, top Democrats began making the bribery case for the first time, showing "Democrats agreed with the MSNBC host," according to Mediaite.[23] Republican Congressman Ratcliffe also cited a bribery segment from The Beat during an impeachment hearing.[24]

A few months into the Mueller probe, on August 29, 2017,[25] Melber broke the story that a state investigator was exploring jurisdiction to charge potential defendants in the Mueller probe with state crimes, meaning a conviction would not be eligible for a presidential pardon. Politico followed up on the report the next day,[26] and New York State prosecutors ultimately did file separate charges against Paul Manafort in March 2019.


Melber interviewed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in Feb. 2019 about whether Trump asked him to interfere in the Mueller probe,[27] and Melber later reported that Lewandowski's response was false.[28] In a 2019 congressional hearing, Lewandowski was questioned about that false answer.[29]

Melber broke the story[30] of police repeatedly tasing a Virginia man until he died in police custody, an investigative report[31] that led to an FBI investigation of the officers' conduct.[32]

On the night of the 2018 midterm elections, Melber broke a story live on MSNBC[33] that Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee[34] "intend to request President Trump's tax returns."[35] In April 2019, United States House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal carried out that plan, formally requesting Trump's tax returns.[36]

The Beat with Ari Melber has featured newsworthy interviews, such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who talked to Melber after receiving the first pardon of Donald Trump's administration;[37] Eric Holder, Kamala Harris, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, Dave Chappelle, Meek Mill, Ken Starr, and a range of witnesses in the Mueller probe, including Steve Bannon, whose The Beat interview was his first ever appearance on MSNBC.

Melber has drawn attention for his interviewing skills. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Live Interview"[2] for interviewing four key witnesses in the Mueller probe at once.[38] In November 2019, Columbia Journalism Review stated Melber is "a remarkably effective interviewer", adding "his veins appear to contain ice water; he betrays no emotion at all" during intense exchanges.

The New York Times columnist Peter Wehner, a former White House official in GOP administrations, said in February 2019, "Melber is an outstanding interviewer, among the best on television."[39]


In June 2020, conservative commentator Tiana Lowe wrote "Ari Melber on MSNBC" runs a "good straight news hour," contrasting The Beat to other news programs.[40] Mediaite[41] wrote The Beat is a "thought-provoking" and "idiosyncratic show" that "avoids the singular focus on Trump's misdeeds that consumes some other hosts",[42] adding Melber's interviewing style uses "the facts of the story and logical reasoning [not] partisan cheap shots" for "fascinating" exchanges.[43] Director Lee Daniels got emotional in a 2019 interview about his life and career with Melber, saying it was the only time he would ever "cry on television".[44]

Melber previously served as the host of The Point, a Sunday evening MSNBC program; a cohost of MSNBC's show The Cycle; and a substitute host for other MSNBC shows, such as The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.[14] Melber was also a correspondent for The Nation, where his writing focused on law, politics, organizing, civil rights, and technology; and he's been published in The Atlantic, Reuters and Politico, and several books. Melber also wrote a report about Organizing for America.[17]

Melber regularly uses hip hop lyrics to explain political or legal scenarios.[45][46] A Vanity Fair article about MSNBC dubbed him the "secret fourth Beastie Boy", writing he is "shockingly smart and well read".[47]

Apple Music launched a music show hosted by Melber, Nevuary Radio,[48] in 2019.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Melber lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. He is divorced from Drew Grant,[50] a pop culture reporter at The New York Observer.[51][52] He is a member of the New York State Bar Association.[53]


  1. ^ "Ari Naftali Melber Lawyer Profile on". Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR THE 41ST ANNUAL NEWS & DOCUMENTARY EMMY® AWARDS – The Emmys". Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  3. ^ "NBCUniversal Media Village". Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Schaal, Eric; Articles, More; January 30, 2019 (January 3, 2019). "Why Does MSNBC's Ari Melber Have So Many More Viewers Than CNN's Wolf Blitzer?". Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Retrieved August 30, 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Berg, Madeline. "Mixing Rap And Politics, MSNBC's Ari Melber Produces A Hit". Forbes. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Steinberg, Brian (July 21, 2017). "MSNBC to Launch 'The Beat With Ari Melber' on Monday".
  7. ^ Scott, Becky. "5 Things About Ari Melber, Greta Van Susteren's Replacement", Jewish Daily Forward, June 30, 2017
  8. ^ "The Beat averaged a historic 1,500,000 nightly viewers this year – the most ever for MSNBC at 6pm – and over 119 million more video views on YouTube than the previous year, nearly doubling views year-over-year". January 2, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020.[non-primary source needed]
  9. ^ Grove, Lloyd (April 2, 2019). "Even Trump's Personal Attorney Loves MSNBC's Ari Melber". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC". Twitter. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "MSNBC public editor: Who exactly are these people?". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  12. ^ Wehner, Peter (February 2, 2019). ".@AriMelber is an outstanding interviewer, among the best on television. Just FYI". @peter_wehner. Retrieved November 17, 2019.[non-primary source needed]
  13. ^ "Conversation with Ari Melber packs Alliance campaign event".
  14. ^ a b c d e f Ommaney, Charles. "Is Ari Melber the future of cable-news anchors?", Columbia Journalism Review, December 2014
  15. ^ "John Kerry-California Campaign Organization". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Ballon, Marc (February 26, 2004). "Local Kerry Support Shows Softness". Jewish Journal. The senator plans to fight for every Jewish vote, said Ari Melber, a Southern California deputy political director on the Kerry campaign who's responsible for Jewish outreach. Melber and other staff members have assembled a group of prominent Jewish Democratic supporters to spread the word about Kerry in the community.
  17. ^ a b c Jewish Business News: "Ari Melber Named MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent" April 19, 2015
  18. ^ Connor, Jackson (April 15, 2015). "MSNBC Names Ari Melber Chief Legal Correspondent". HuffPost.
  19. ^ Steinberg, Brian (July 21, 2017). "MSNBC to Launch 'The Beat With Ari Melber' on Monday".
  20. ^ Steinberg, Brian (July 2, 2017). "MSNBC to Launch 'The Beat With Ari Melber' on Monday". Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  21. ^ "Ari Melber Says "Former FBI Official" Described Comey's Firing As "Insane," Questioned If It Is "Obstruction"". Media Matters for America. May 9, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Melber, Ari Melber Ari; Attorney, An; correspondent, is MSNBC's chief legal; Melber.", host of "The Beat with Ari. "Perspective | 'Bribery' is right there in the Constitution. Trump could be impeached for that". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "How Did Democrats Decide on 'Bribery' as Trump's Offense?". Mediaite. November 2, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "In Trump 'bribery' clash at impeachment hearing, Congressman cites interviews and MSNBC". MSNBC. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Presidential pardons might not end Russia prosecutions". NBC News. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  26. ^ Dawsey, Josh. "Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe". Politico. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  27. ^ Donut Defense: Anchor Grills Top Trump Aide On Obstruction Report | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC, retrieved September 23, 2019
  28. ^ House Investigator Confronts Trump Aide Under Oath For Lying On MSNBC | The Beat With Ari Melber, retrieved September 23, 2019
  29. ^ Wilstein, Matt (September 1, 2019). "Corey Lewandowski Caught in Lie to MSNBC During House Testimony". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  30. ^ Board, Editorial (November 1, 2015). "Another senseless death in police custody". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  31. ^ "Driven to hospital, Virginia man tased, shackled and dies in police custody". MSNBC. November 1, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  32. ^ "Feds close inquiry into death of Linwood Lambert after Va. police tasing". NBC News. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  33. ^ "With House majority, Dems intend to request Trump's tax returns". MSNBC. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  34. ^ EST, Tom Porter On 11/7/18 at 6:18 am (November 7, 2018). "Democrats set to demand Donald Trump's tax returns after winning House majority". Newsweek. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  35. ^ "Once in power, House Democrats will reportedly demand Trump's tax returns". The Week. November 6, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  36. ^ Gordon, Marcy (April 4, 2019). "White House pushes back on request for Trump tax forms". AP NEWS. Archived from the original on April 5, 2019. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  37. ^ EST, Tim Marcin On 1/15/18 at 2:25 pm (January 1, 2018). "Joe Arpaio found out he admitted guilt with Trump pardon on live TV". Newsweek. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  38. ^ Watch: Ari Melber's Interview With 4 Key Mueller Witnesses | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC, retrieved August 9, 2020
  39. ^ Wehner, Peter (February 2, 2019). ".@AriMelber is an outstanding interviewer, among the best on television. Just FYI". @peter_wehner. Retrieved April 25, 2019.[non-primary source needed]
  40. ^ "Tucker Carlson's genius journalism, not punditry, makes him dominate cable". Washington Examiner. June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  41. ^ "Ari Melber Grills Jerome Corsi: 'A Lot of What You've Said Does Not Add Up'". November 29, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  42. ^ "The Interview: Ari Melber Talks 2020 Election, Trump, Barr and Biden-Harris". Mediaite. September 17, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  43. ^ "MSNBC's Ari Melber Grills Andrew McCabe: The Rosenstein Memo is 'Not the Whole Story' … is It?". February 22, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  44. ^ "Lee Daniels gets emotional over historic Oscar". MSN. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  45. ^ "MSNBC Correspondent Ari Melber Uses Rap Lyrics to Get His Point Across – XXL". XXL Mag.
  46. ^ "Viral Clip Shows MSNBC Pundit Appropriately Citing Gucci Mane During Segment On Trump – Blavity". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  47. ^ Hirschorn, Michael (November 4, 2018). "How MSNBC Created a Cable-News Addiction Epidemic". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  48. ^ "Nevuary w/ Ari Melber | 🍎Music's (@nevuaryradio) profile on Instagram • 134 posts". Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  49. ^ "Nevuary Radio on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  50. ^ Levine, Daniel (June 2, 2017). "Ari Melber: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  51. ^ New York Times: "Step Away From the Phone!" by Caroline Tell September 20, 2013
  52. ^ New York Observer: "Drew Grant – Staff Writer" retrieved July 30, 2016
  53. ^ "Ari Melber MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent, Host of 'The Beat with Ari Melber'". MSNBC. Retrieved March 30, 2020.

External links[edit]