Robert Zelnick

Biography: 

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

Open Mike, Oct. 16-17

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, October 16, 2010

President Obama has four major foreign initiatives underway and, at the moment, all four could readily fail...

Analysis and Commentary

President Obama like John McCain, circa 2008?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, October 15, 2010

Why do I keep thinking about Adlai Stevenson's 1956 effort to block President Dwight Eisenhower's reelection bid every time I turn on my TV only to catch Barack Obama blasting one representative of Corporate America or another...?

Analysis and Commentary

Can Democrats win as Republicans-lite?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unlike the lockstep partisan voting in European parliamentary systems, here no member is expected to defy his conscience or commit political suicide by marching like lemmings into the sea...

Analysis and Commentary

Alaska Dem Senate candidate Scott McAdams slams Republican candidate Joe Miller over the federal minimum wage

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When (and if) Joe Miller goes to Washington, he will find many lawyers and conservative action groups who share his belief that the federal government lacks the constitutional power to impose minimum wage standards on the states...

Analysis and Commentary

Democratic political triage working?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, October 4, 2010

Here come the Democrats, no longer the bearers of some loathsome political disease that translates into forfeiture of control over both houses. Instead Democratic political strategists postulate an astonishing comeback...

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's chamber attacks - Will voters care?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, October 1, 2010

The attacks on the Chamber of Commerce -- a moderately conservative, traditionally Republican group overwhelmingly composed of small businesses -- are unlikely to directly sway many votes...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike, Oct. 2-3

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, October 1, 2010

New technologies often require new laws to protect society...The tragic death by suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi offers a similar lesson...

Analysis and Commentary

Who should replace Summers?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, September 30, 2010

[My] choice for the Summers job would be Robert Rubin, one of the most successful of the Clinton advisers, a name long associated with the battle against runaway government spending, who's trusted from Germany to China and a former top dog at Goldman Sachs...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike: Promises Promises

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, September 25, 2010

More than most colleagues, I have considerable respect for party platforms. I believe they articulate the hopes and sometimes the dreams of an important vehicle for political evolution...

Analysis and Commentary

The GOP's 'pledge' to social issues?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clearly a generation of political experience suggests the political rewards for a right-to-life stance are greater than its penalties. I expect the same will be true with respect to the issue of validating same-sex marriage...

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