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

Did media screw up on polls during the 2010 midterm elections?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, November 12, 2010

Most of the "mistakes" committed during this past Election Day were a function of the sampling techniques employed rather than huge late changes in the intentions of those likely to vote...

Analysis and Commentary

Is Obama talking down the economy?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, November 8, 2010

Economics truly becomes a dismal science when leaders with dismal outlooks are at the helm...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike, Nov. 6-7: Democrats and the Electorate

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Today’s Democratic Party has earned the rejection it has once again felt, compliments of the American electorate. No reason to look for scapegoats. The party is its own worst enemy...

Analysis and Commentary

Can the president and GOP Congress work together?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The motif Tuesday night may have been compromise. But the reality may be legislative stalemate...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike, Oct. 30-31: The Tea Party and the GOP

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, October 29, 2010

“Tonight the light of love is in your eyes, But will you still love me tomorrow?” I don’t know how many tea party celebrants will have the lyrics to the Shirelles’ great 1960 hit in mind as they journey to the polls this Tuesday...

Analysis and Commentary

McConnell's refreshing candor?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Are we being dissed by this nasty business, trained like Pavlov's dogs to salivate -- fierce with hunger -- whenever the bell rings...?

Analysis and Commentary

Who's going to win on Nov. 2?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, October 25, 2010

I see the Republicans picking up 42 House seats, seven seats in the Senate and a net of three governorships...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike, Oct. 23-24

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, October 22, 2010

Stop the press! I've changed my mind. I no longer accept the inevitability of a Republican victory Nov. 4 that carries with it control of the House and Senate...

Analysis and Commentary

'Muslim dilemma' comments a firing offense?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, October 21, 2010

[Juan Williams is] a smart guy with a long record of success in both print and television with a sufficient reputation to repudiate any notion that one or another of his cautiously worded rants somehow violates the ethics of his profession...

Analysis and Commentary

Whom should Dems cut loose? And is Obama putting himself above party on political spending?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fight the Democrats because you don't like their programs. They spend too much, tax too much and regulate too much...