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

A Time to Drill?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, January 31, 2011

We need not act in panic regardless of how the current crisis in the Middle East plays out...

Analysis and Commentary

What would a post-Mubarak Egypt look like?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, January 29, 2011

During the past 60 years, Egypt has traveled the road from kingdom to pan-Arab socialism to military authoritarianism...

Analysis and Commentary

Why the Scalia outrage?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, January 24, 2011

[Scalia] appears to live in mortal dread that even a single citizen will not live to benefit from his insight into the law, an intellectual disease not uncommon among professors at prominent law schools...

Analysis and Commentary

Olbermann: Sad farewell or good riddance?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, January 21, 2011

Ready, folks? Here are the three principal reasons why I won't miss Keith Olbermann...

Analysis and Commentary

Repeal, but how about replace?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

...[L]iberal Hill Democrats and their Amen Congressional Chorus are blaming Republicans and others favoring a humane death for the inhumane law cry out for Republicans to come forward with alternative legislation...

Analysis and Commentary

Can Dems hold North Dakota?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In any political triage calculation the Democrats of North Dakota would be excluded from help because they are too far gone to save, while the Republicans would be ignored because their robust political condition suggests they need no help...

Analysis and Commentary

Will Romneycare sink Mitt?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, January 14, 2011

[Mitt Romney's] implementation of a comprehensive state Medicare program...will weigh more heavily on his next campaign for the presidency than it did for his first...

Analysis and Commentary

Will political rhetoric soften after Tucson?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, January 13, 2011

No I don't think it hurt us too badly. [Sarah Palin] can be a little testy on the campaign. And her hard core positions are themselves polarizing. But who among our great presidents wasn't polarizing...?


Is a Deal within Reach?

by Robert Zelnickvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When it comes to Mideast peace talks, this time the optimists may have a case. By Robert Zelnick.

Analysis and Commentary

Time for stricter gun-control laws?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is needed is to get those prone to violence off the streets and into hospitals, asylums or shelters where their individual conditions can be addressed and society spared the periodic trauma of their violent behavior...