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.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

McDonnell's rebel yell?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is the Virginia governor's Confederate History Month proclamation appropriate?

Analysis and Commentary

Tenure decisions can’t remedy racial imbalance

by Robert Zelnickvia Boston Globe
Sunday, February 28, 2010

NOT TOO MANY years ago the dean of an Ivy League college described a no-holds barred battle at his institution over tenure for an African-American candidate. . . .

Tattered Road Map

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Even in a land divided so bitterly and so long, modest hopes persist. By Robert Zelnick.

Forced Fairness

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 9, 2009

As it browbeats law schools into accepting affirmative action, the American Bar Association appears to be breaking the law. By Robert Zelnick.

Fighting Fair

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why it was right to dump the so-called Fairness Doctrine—and would be wrong to bring it back. By Robert Zelnick.

Analysis and Commentary

Politics and the Fairness Doctrine

by Robert Zelnickvia Boston Globe
Saturday, March 7, 2009

THE EFFORT by Democrats in both Houses to resurrect broadcasting's "Fairness Doctrine" after a 22-year hiatus suggests the fragility of constitutional values once the lure of partisan advantage comes into play...

The Iran Factor, the Sunni States, and the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

by Robert Zelnickvia Analysis
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When George H. W. Bush was contemplating the removal of Saddam Hussein following the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the Saudis and Egyptians advised him not to do so. It could lead to civil war in Iraq, they argued, which would weaken the country as a bulwark against Iranian expansion in the region. Coupled with intelligence reports predicting the overthrow of Saddam by humiliated military men, the administration decided to follow its allies’ advice. Saddam was spared, Bush lost his bid for reelection, and the United States under Bill Clinton maintained a policy termed “dual containment” – degrading Iraq’s military capabilities through sanctions and air strikes while keeping Iran in the disfavored category of state sponsors of terrorism.

Analysis and Commentary

'Whitewash' Indictment of Liberal Media Convinces

by Robert Zelnickvia Cybercast News Service
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A review of "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will," by L. Brent Bozell III with Tim Graham (Crown Forum/Random House, 272 pages)...

Analysis and Commentary

How Iran Could Help End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

by Robert Zelnickvia Foreign Policy Research Institute
Thursday, October 4, 2007

In invading Iraq, the U.S. unintentionally threw open the door to the expansion of Iranian influence in the region...

Analysis and Commentary

Amid chaos, a chance for progress

by Robert Zelnickvia Boston Globe
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sometimes weakness is strength...