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

The London Bombings

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

There are four components to terrorism: it is violence against noncombatants conducted by a substate group for political objectives.

Analysis and Commentary

Newsweek, Facts and Evidence

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

The real Koran story in Iraq has nothing to do with mistreatment of the book.

Decline and Fall

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, April 30, 2005

Broadcast journalism isn’t what it used to be—and won’t be again. By Robert Zelnick.

Analysis and Commentary

Victories against Terrorism

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, February 16, 2005

freedom can prevail over terrorism—even in a difficult part of the world.

What Is at Stake?

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2005

In Afghanistan the practitioners of international terrorism suffered one grievous blow. The fate of Iraq will determine whether they suffer a final blow or get back on their feet. By Robert Zelnick.

Analysis and Commentary

Iraq's Quorum Call

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Every time I hear advocates for Iraq's Sunni Muslims urge postponement of the January 30 vote I recall legendary lawyer Louis Nizer's story about dissenting members of a corporate board of directors who, after tossing their colleagues out the window, promptly moved to adjourn for the absence of a quorum.

Analysis and Commentary

Arafat and Israeli Counterterrorism

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, November 17, 2004

If Yasser Arafat had died at birth a Palestinian state would today likely be living side by side with a Jewish state, in peace.

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Privileged Sources

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, October 30, 2004

As the courts seek to learn who leaked the name of a CIA agent to columnist Robert Novak, politics is trumping the law—and national security. By Robert Zelnick.

Analysis and Commentary

The CBS "Scoop"

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

After an odd couple assortment of bloggers and traditional news organizations raised doubts about what CBS claimed were Killian's notes, the network's position began to unravel.

Analysis and Commentary

9/11 Nostalgia

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

The Republicans will hold theirs soon enough, presumably providing fodder of their own for observers like me, so let me deal with the departed Democrats.