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

Newt getting the boot after Medicare remarks?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So what would you expect from Newt Gingrich -- a lofty and erudite political science essay? Sorry, that Newt Gingrich can only be found in archives storing records on the evolution of the Republican Party in the post-Goldwater years...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's reelection odds?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, May 16, 2011

I claim no special insight in naming the next president, but I do think the forces that will lead to his reelection or defeat are beginning to come into focus...

Analysis and Commentary

David Petraeus the right pick for spymaster?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This latest juggling of national security positions is likely to have all the impact as the shift of ambassadors in Vietnam from Henry Cabot Lodge to Ellsworth Bunker (none) or in top generals from Maxwell Taylor to William Westmoreland (none again)...

Analysis and Commentary

Ron Paul's White House moment?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ron Paul is as close the isolationism of Charles Lindbergh as any candidate now on the political horizon...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's deficit plan: Did he make his case?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, April 14, 2011

The impending battle over national debt reduction gives the Democrats one more shot at making the tax code more just and the loopholes in the system more difficult to exploit...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama wise to declare for reelection so early?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, April 4, 2011

In pushing off the starting blocks when it is still far too early to define his presidency, let alone assess it, Barack Obama completely pre-empts any serious challenge to his re-nomination...

Analysis and Commentary

Should Iowa and N.H. lose first-state status?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, March 31, 2011

What would America be without this quadrennial horror show? Probably much better...

Analysis and Commentary

What should Obama say on Libya tonight?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, March 28, 2011

For one speech on a topic no one could have anticipated, even a few months ago, very much is riding...

Analysis and Commentary

Geraldine Ferraro's legacy

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, March 26, 2011

Once in the limelight, Ferraro was a smart, colorful personality who brought credit to herself, her party and her country...

Analysis and Commentary

Oval Office address inevitable?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, March 25, 2011

I don’t believe the president is capable of explaining his quirky policies in the Middle East any more than I am capable of understanding them...