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

Still Fighting Florida

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, September 10, 2001

Clearly voter error was linked to education, income, and literacy. But the innuendo of wrongdoing dies hard.

Winning Florida: How the Bush Team Fought the Battle

Winning Florida: How the Bush Team Fought the Battle

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Institution Press
Friday, August 31, 2001

With a reporter's keen eye for detail, award-winning journalist Zelnick conveys every emotion of the key players in this battle, presenting a rich, colorful tale that reads more like a fictional political thriller than the bizarre real-life drama It was—from election night through the U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision.

The Battle for Color-Blind Public Policy

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 30, 2001

According to Hoover media fellow Robert Zelnick, the government should end racial preferences as a matter of principle. "The ultimate political question," writes Zelnick, "is whether whites and Asians in this democracy have the same constitutional rights as blacks, Hispanics, and other favored groups."

Why the New Populism Won’t Go Away

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Have we heard the last of Al Gore’s “New Populism”? No such luck. By Hoover media fellow Bob Zelnick.

Al Gore: A Case Study

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 30, 1999

In dealing with the Champion Paper plant on the Pigeon River in North Carolina, Al Gore faced a choice: please a group of environmentalists or save 1,300 jobs. Guess what he decided. By Hoover media fellow Bob Zelnick.

MEDIA CIRCUS: The State of the Media

with Robert Zelnick, James Risservia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, June 25, 1998

Should we be concerned that a handful of corporations now control the majority of national news outlets? Robert Zelnick, Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and James Risser, Professor at the Department of Communication, Director of John S. Knight Fellowship Program, and Director of the Graduate Program in Journalism, Stanford University, ask whether the press today is driven by the "public's right to know" or the pressure to beat the competition.

The California Civil Rights Initiative

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 1996

ABC News correspondent and Hoover media fellow Bob Zelnick examines the issues at stake and the personalities involved.What does Ward Connerly think of Willie Brown? Read on.