Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion and a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University who writes about authoritarianism and propaganda. Follow her @ruthbenghiat. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. Read more opinion articles on CNN. (CNN)”Justice,” “toxic” and “misinformation”: These are the 2018 “words of the year,” according to Merriam-Webster, the Oxford Dictionary and Dictionary.com, respectively. What do these words say about the state of our culture? They certainly tell a story about the state of public consciousness. To put it another way (and to use all the top words in one sentence): Many people want justice from the damages wrought by toxic leaders and their misinformation campaigns. These annual “awards” are based largely on the number of lookups, which in turn reflects the prominence of certain terms in the news, in social media and in educational curricula. It’s no surprise that of two of three top words (toxic and misinformation) are negative terms. During this past year, investigative journalists, citizen whistleblowers, prosecutors, advocacy groups and others have revealed a world of abuses of power, cover-ups, intents to deceive and corrupt leadership that extends from the White… Read full this story
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