Jessica Valenti: We Have Too Many ‘Armchair Pundits’ On TV And Not Enough Experts

The Medium columnist and feminist author noted that statistics and studies about rape and sexual assault are non-partisan.

During an appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning, feminist author and Medium columnist Jessica Valenti said that when it comes to discussing and analyzing major news stories like the Brett Kavanaugh allegations, cable news relies too much on punditry and not enough on expertise.

Following host Brian Stelter’s conversation with Republican operative and conservative pundit Matt Schlapp, Valenti was asked about the “profound gender divide in this country” as it relates to Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“How can we better understand where women like you are coming from?” Stelter wondered aloud. “Are there too many pundits on TV and not enough experts?”

“Absolutely,” Valenti replied. “Facts about rape and statistics about rape and studies about rape and victims’ behavior are not partisan.”

She continued, “We have a ton of experts — there are organizations, researchers, scientists who can tell us about victims’ memories, rapists’ patterns of behavior. We’re not seeing them on television shows, I’m not seeing them write op-eds. Instead, we have a lot of armchair pundits who don’t know that much about rape and sexual assault.”

Stelter would cop to the fact that sometimes he is an “armchair pundit,” with Valenti adding that “we all are.” The two went on to talk about the reactions on Fox News to Kavanaugh’s testimony, with conservatives praising the judge’s anger and rage and how we likely would have seen a way different response if a woman similarly blew up.

Interestingly, Valenti’s call for more experts on cable news came on the heels of political analyst Jeff Greenfield telling Stelter that CNN spends too much of its on-air time on panels full of pundits and commentators rather than on reporting.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.


Justin Baragona is the founder and publisher of Contemptor. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
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