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

Newt hurt by 'Kenyan, anti-colonial' comments about Obama?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, September 13, 2010

As one who likes and respects Gingrich and admires D'Souza's intellect and tenacity, I would suggest that while Obama may not have earned our support, he does deserve a bit of elbow room...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike, Sept. 11-12

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, September 10, 2010

So now Lisa Murkowski is considering a write-in effort to “save” the Senate seat she narrowly lost to Joe Miller...My advice to Ms. Murkowski: Don't do it...

Analysis and Commentary

Economic Battles and Political Change

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The most encouraging prospect for good governance following this year’s midterm elections is that the winning and losing parties will be unlikely to be able to govern effectively without mutual consultation and compromise...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike: Labor Day Weekend Edition

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, September 4, 2010

Acknowledged only grudgingly by the parties directly engaged in peace talks begun last month is the virtual veto power held over implementation of any deal reached by Hamas...

Analysis and Commentary

A Middle East breakthrough?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Friday, August 20, 2010

The resumption of face-to-face negotiations in the absence of President Netanyahu to extend the existing settlement freeze is less a victory for the Obama administration than a sign that the administration recognizes its mistake in seeking to arm-twist Israel into halting work on settlements...

Analysis and Commentary

Fair and balanced political giving?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Romney has a difficult but not impossible path to the Republican presidential nomination...[but] his campaign will be well financed. Will an economy looking more and more like Japan's "lost decade" be as big and issue in the 2012 presidential campaign as in the 2010 congressional elections...?

Analysis and Commentary

End of the Helen-ic era

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Monday, June 7, 2010

Helen Thomas should, of course, be fired for stupidity, bigotry and grossly poor timing in calling for Israel’s Jews to “go home” to their countries of origin...

Analysis and Commentary

No benefit of the doubt for Israel?

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israel’s raid at sea against a Gaza-bound cargo vessel bringing “relief supplies” to a people whose supply of life’s necessities are under Israeli control, strikes me as a bad decision...

Analysis and Commentary

Open Mike, Memorial Day Weekend Edition

by Robert Zelnickvia Arena (Politico)
Saturday, May 29, 2010

In its interesting report in today’s edition on how the current recession and financial turmoil have largely undone decades of economic progress by the black community of Memphis, the New York Times notes complaints among civic leaders against the Wells Fargo Bank...