n. The members of the media who analyze and comment on current affairs, particularly politics; pundits, collectively.
The Bradley Effect — a possible misleading of pollsters by voters explored in this space in September — was a phrase that received much thumb sucking among the punditariat during October and will either enter or permanently depart the political language this week.
—William Safire, “On Language: On Language: ’08-isms,” The New York Times, November 02, 2008
On-camera, suppressing a smile, Energy Minister Awad al-Jaz said, "With the Chinese we don't feel any interference in our Sudanese traditions or politics or beliefs…. There is no other business but the business."

That cold context — and the fact that China has invested billions in exploration, production, pipelines, and weapons plants — underscores the implausibility of every option being endorsed by the Western punditariat.
—Mark Lange, “The only way to alter China's hand in Darfur,” Christian Science Monitor, April 30, 2008
1997 (earliest)
RIVERA: You know, as the prosecution case is un-un-unfolding here, I-I notice the-those of us in the punditariat, we're nodding along with the prosecution. I wonder how the jury is now. As they watch these rival counsel, whose side do the nods go to?
—Geraldo Rivera, “Rivera Live,” CNBC News Transcripts, May 15, 1997
This term combines the word pundit, and the pseudo-suffix -ariat. (I say "pseudo" because there's no official -ariat suffix, only winking coinages that play on more familiar terms such as proletariat and secretariat, each of which uses a form of the (real) suffix -ate.) Pundit was defined by the journalist William Safire as, in part, "a serious political analyst or self-important sage," although the alternative definition "a media commenter who got everything wrong about the 2008 U.S. Presidential election" also fits. It comes to us from the Sanskrit word pandita, "learned man", and was first used in that sense in English way back in 1816.

Thanks to Word Spy user Delyth for suggesting this term.