The other day in NY we had an Amber Alert. A car was supposedly carjacked with a baby in the back seat. Turns out the baby was ok, but it was a part of the news for hours.
The whole system reminds me of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. There's a scene where the announcer (radio or TV, don't remember) tells everyone to go to the door or window and look for Montag, the protagonist. It's a very powerful tool, in the book, because everyone watches TV and (almost) everyone follows what the media orders them to do. If Montag can't flee into the river fast enough, he will be seen and reported.
The Amber Alert system has the potential to also use society's constant contact with the media for good. If an alert can save a child from carjacking (in a future case) or catch a kidnapper, that's a positive benefit for all involved (except the criminal, natch).
This bears watching.