Robert Zelnick


Robert Zelnick is a professor of national and international affairs at Boston University and was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has been with Boston University since September 1998, where his course Media Law and Ethics has long been a student favorite.

Before joining Boston University, Zelnick spent twenty-one years with ABC News in various executive positions before being named Moscow correspondent.

From 1984 to 1986, Zelnick was posted to Israel, where he was known for his balanced coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian controversy. He then served as Pentagon correspondent from 1986 to 1994, covering the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. His investigation of the explosion aboard the battleship Iowa forced the navy to withdraw its charges that an innocent seaman was responsible for the blast.

From 1994 to 1998, Zelnick covered Congress and politics.

Before joining ABC News, Zelnick served as executive editor of the Nixon-Frost interviews.

From 1972 to 1974, he served as correspondent and, from 1975 to 1976, national bureau chief for National Public Radio.

Zelnick began his career in journalism as a freelance writer on Vietnam in 1967. The following year, he joined the staff of the Anchorage Daily News.

From 1973 to 1977, Zelnick served as a special correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, covering the US Supreme Court.

Zelnick has won numerous awards, including two Emmys and two Gavel Awards from the American Bar Association.

During the years Zelnick has contributed numerous columns and articles to newspapers and scholarly journals. He is the author of five books: Backfire: A Reporter Looks at Affirmative Action, Gore: A Political Life, Winning Florida: How the Bush Team Fought the Battle, Swing Dance: Justice O'Connor and the Michigan Muddle, and Israel’s Unilaterialism. His most recent book, coauthored with his daughter Eva, is titled The Illusion of Net Neutrality: Political Alarmism, Regulatory Creep, and the Real End to Internet Freedom (Hoover Institution Press, 2013). He is currently working on his memoirs, which will be housed in the Boston University Archives.

A native of New York City, Zelnick graduated from Cornell and the University of Virginia’s Law School.

A US Marine Corps veteran, Zelnick currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife of forty-five years, Pamela S. Zelnick. The couple has three daughters: Eva, Dara, and Marni.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Is Google leaning right?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Google is leaning right because it is a business rather than a political party or movement...

Analysis and Commentary

Will Martha's Vineyard vacation haunt Obama?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, August 18, 2011

...Mr. Obama, enjoy your trip. You have a tough job, and maybe the change of venue will pave the way for fresh insights and renewed energy...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike - July 23-34, 2011

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, July 22, 2011

Unintended consequences strike again. This time the issue involves high school athletics and the legal requirement - the famous Title IX of the Civil Rights Act forbidding discrimination on the basis of gender...

Analysis and Commentary

Could Michele Bachmann's headaches be her downfall?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Health has been an issue in a number of presidential campaigns, and for good reason...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's overwhelming campaign cash?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, July 8, 2011

Assuming the projections that Obama will raise and spend $1 billion are true, this observer would still argue that the election will be decided by other factors...

Analysis and Commentary

Mitt Romney lacking big bucks?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Romney remains an indefatigable campaigner, a man whose personal history even the saints would find admirable, and a man of both endurance and perseverance. It would be a mistake for anyone to write him off...

Analysis and Commentary

Is President Obama's Jewish support slipping?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some Jews - including this one - have indeed made the transition to the GOP, in part because it has actively courted us and in part because many see the Democrats as the party of the redistribution of wealth...

Analysis and Commentary

Can Obama split the difference on Afghanistan?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If President Obama were as good at governance as he is at politics, he would defer to our generals on the best tactics and timing for ending the war in Afghanistan and use his time reviewing the generals’ results and mobilizing public support for a victorious outcome...

Analysis and Commentary

What are Obama's 2012 chances in North Carolina?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, June 13, 2011

In 2012, it appears now that President Obama will lose the presidential contests in North Carolina and Virginia, perhaps by healthy margins. Race has little to do with it...

Analysis and Commentary

Rick Perry for president in 2012?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jeepers! Did I forget Texas Gov. Rick Perry? Chances are I won't be the only one...