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

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by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The military campaign? That was the easy part. Hoover fellow Robert Zelnick on the political battles to come.

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The War This Time

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 2003

Should war with Iraq come, how will it differ from the last conflict in the Persian Gulf? By Hoover fellow Robert Zelnick.

Analysis and Commentary

Iraq: The Critics, Then and Now

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, November 4, 2002

That the critics were wrong a decade ago does not automatically make them wrong today. But their arguments are hauntingly similar.

The Needless Intifada

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

How Yasir Arafat’s deadly gamble failed. A firsthand report from the Middle East by Hoover fellow Robert Zelnick.
SIDEBAR: Defiant Normalcy.

The Beginning of the End for Bakke

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 2002

The Supreme Court may finally be ready to strike down racial preference programs in college admissions. Hoover fellow Robert Zelnick on what would be "an enormous victory."

Analysis and Commentary

The Fall of Saddam

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, March 18, 2002

The war against terrorism cannot be won if the war against weapons of mass destruction is lost.

Analysis and Commentary

The Palestinian Identity

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, February 4, 2002

When a third of all Palestinians identify the terrorist Hamas organization as their preferred political vehicle, are they ready to administer the holy city of Jerusalem side by side with Israelis?

Time to Set Aside Set-Asides

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Hoover fellow Robert Zelnick argues that it is high time to do away with race preferences. But will the Supreme Court ever agree?

Analysis and Commentary

The Press and the War

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, December 3, 2001

If the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are not acts of evil criminality, then is anything criminal in Mr. Westin's world?

How Gore Bush Won Florida

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Hoover fellow Robert Zelnick offers a behind-the scenes look at the political battle of battles: Bush v. Gore.