Most of the academic job seekers who are preparing for their campus visits right now have no idea how many the jobs they are interviewing for in good faith have already been promised to internal candidates. Often, an internal candidate is somebody's relative or friend, which makes the entire process smell really bad. In other cases, however, there are legitimate internal candidates who are perfectly qualified for the position.
I understand very well how a department might want to offer a tenure-track position to an adjunct who worked hard for the department for years or who is about to get a PhD. What is really wrong, though, is that even in cases when the department is 100% convinced it has the right internal candidate, it is still forced to declare a national search. Such searches waste university resources that are scarce as it is. They also exploit hopeful candidates who apply for the position in good faith, go through a gruelling 9-month job application process, interview at the MLA, kill themselves to deliver a great campus visit, and have no idea during that entire time that they don't have a hope in hell of being hired. I've seen such fake searches, and they honestly break your heart.
So my question is: why not dispense with fake searches altogether? They waste precious resources, undermine a university's integrity, and cause damage to job seekers. They are conducted for the sake of keeping up appearances, which is hardly a goal worthy of all this sacrifice and dishonesty.