Destroying the Institutions We Inherited

Destroying the Institutions We Inherited by Victor Davis Hanson for Town Hall

In the 21st century, hallmark American and international institutions have lost much of their prestige and respect.

Politics and biases explain the lack of public confidence in organizations and institutions such as the World Health Organization, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pulitzer Prizes and the Academy Awards.

The overseers entrusted with preserving these institutions all caved to short-term political pressures. As a result, they have mostly destroyed what they inherited.

The World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is the first person without a medical degree to hold that position. Why? No one really knows.

In the critical first days of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, almost every statement issued by Tedros and the WHO about the origins, transmission, prevention and treatment of the virus was inaccurate. Worse, the announcements predictably reflected the propaganda of the Chinese government.

The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates was formed in 1987 for two purposes: to ensure that during every presidential campaign, candidates would agree to debate; and to ensure that the debates would be impartial and not favor either major party.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the commission so far has a checkered record on both counts.

Conservatives have argued that the moderators of the first presidential debate and the vice presidential debate — Chris Wallace of Fox News and Susan Page of USA Today — were systematically asymmetrical in their questioning.

The moderators asked both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to explain prior controversial quotes and then to reply to critics’ accusations. The moderators did not pose the same sort of gotcha-type “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden or vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

Although the vice presidential debate was conducted with proper social distancing, along with screens and testing to protect the candidates, the commission abruptly canceled the second live presidential debate for safety’s sake and insisted it be conducted remotely.

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