Ari Melber | Srivideo
Biography | Posted: Friday, 9th October
Born Name: Ari Naftali Melber
Place of Birth: March 31, 1980
Place of Birth: Seattle, Washington, United States
Height: 1.8 m
Education: University of Michigan (BA), Cornell University (JD)
Employer: NBC, Universal
Today Show (legal analyst)
MSNBC Live (chief legal correspondent)
NBC News (legal analyst)
All in with Chris Hayes
The Rachel Maddow Show
The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell
The Beat with Ari Melber
Spouse: Drew Grant (m. 2014–2017)
Parents: Daniel M. Melber, Barbara D. Melber
Ari Naftali Melber (born March 31, 1980) is an American attorney and journalist who is the host of MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber. The show premiered on July 24, 2017, and was nominated for a 2020 Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Interview.
The Beat averages 1.8 million average viewers – more than CNN at 6 pm and "MSNBC's best rating ever for the time slot," according to Forbes.
Melber's show has become one of the most viewed news shows online, with "13 million viewers per month on YouTube—the highest of any MSNBC show," according to the Daily Beast; 218 million views on YouTube in 2019; and The Beat aired some of the most watched segments online in MSNBC's history. Columbia Journalism Review dubbed Melber "a remarkably effective interviewer," while a New York Times columnist says he is "an outstanding interviewer, among the best on television."
Early life and education
Melber graduated from the University of Michigan with an A.B. degree in political science. After school 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. 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 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 from 2009 to 2013. He also began writing political columns for various news outlets like The Nation, The Atlantic, Reuters, and Politico. MSNBC took note and asked him to serve as a guest host. In April 2015, Melber was named their chief legal correspondent.
Melber is a legal analyst for NBC News as well as MSNBC's chief legal correspondent, covering the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Supreme Court. He has won an Emmy Award for his Supreme Court coverage.
Melber was one of the first journalists to report that the firing of FBI Director James Comey could trigger an investigation into obstruction of justice. He reported on May 9, 2017, the day Comey was fired, that a former FBI official told him the firing raised the question of potential obstruction by President Trump. A probe was announced on May 18, 2017, which included an obstruction investigation of the Comey firing.
Melber reported President Trump's actions toward Ukraine provided a potential case of impeachment for "bribery" in October. The next month, Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff and Speaker Pelosi began making the bribery case for the first time, showing "Democrats agreed with the MSNBC host," according to Mediaite. Republican Congressman Ratcliffe also cited a bribery segment from The Beat during an impeachment hearing.
A few months into the Mueller probe, on August 29, 2017, 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, and New York State prosecutors ultimately did file separate charges against Paul Manafort in March 2019, (after his trials in the Mueller probe).
Melber interviewed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in Feb. 2019 about whether Trump asked him to interfere in the Mueller probe, and Melber later reported that Lewandowski's response was false. In a congressional impeachment hearing in Sept. 2019, Lewandowski was questioned about his false answer.
Melber broke the story of police repeatedly tasing a Virginia man until he died in police custody, an investigative report that led to an FBI investigation of the officers' conduct.
On the night of the 2018 midterm elections, Melber broke a story live on MSNBC that Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee "intend to request President Trump's tax returns." In April 2019, United States House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal carried out that plan, formally requesting Trump's tax returns from the IRS.
"The Beat with Ari Melber" has featured several newsworthy interviews, such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who talked to Melber after receiving the first pardon of Donald Trump's administration; 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 Beat interview was his first ever appearance on MSNBC.
Melber has drawn attention for his interviewing and questioning skills. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Live Interview" for interviewing four key witnesses in the Mueller probe at once. 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."
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. Mediaite wrote The Beat is a "thought-provoking" and "idiosyncratic show" that "avoids the singular focus on Trump’s misdeeds that consumes some other hosts," adding Melber's interviewing style uses "the facts of the story and logical reasoning [not] partisan cheap shots" for "fascinating" exchanges. 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."
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. 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.
Melber regularly uses hip hop lyrics to explain political or legal scenarios. A Vanity Fair article about MSNBC dubbed him the "secret fourth Beastie Boy," writing he is "shockingly smart and well read."
Melber lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. He is divorced from Drew Grant, a pop culture reporter at The New York Observer. He is a member of the New York State Bar Association.