The image above is from the Germany Ignorance Report (pdf) of 2014, which quizzed Germans on how much they know about global progress on poverty, illiteracy, women's rights, child mortality, family size, etc. On almost every question, Germans err on the side of underestimating progress.
Why is this? Well, I got me a theory.
Educated Germans like to congratulate themselves on being unusually worldly. They have more money and leisure time than educated folks in many other countries, and they often use it to travel. And educated Germans are, in my experience, quite knowledgeable people.
So much for the educated upper crust, perhaps 15-20 percent of any society.
Ordinary Germans get their news mostly from the tabloid Bild and the 15-minute news segments broadcast at 8:00 PM every night on public television stations. And these follow the time-honored journalistic tradition of 'it bleeds, it leads'. For Bild, that includes crime, war, disasters, celebrity cocaine catastrophes and botox breakdowns.
The nightly news is written and delivered by educated Germans and conceived as a re-education and de-Bild-ification propaganda instrument aimed at the reechy-necked mob. Their priorities are different. Perhaps a little celebrity news as groundbait, especially if the celebrity is endorsing a socially-responsible cause. No news about violent crimes in Germany unless it's unavoidable. But plenty of news, tons of it, about war, poverty, and disaster, especially in the Third World.
I've always wondered exactly how interested ordinary Germans are in crop failure in Indonesia or the machinations of Congolese warlords, but interested or not, the TV nightly informs them. I suppose the ideological justification is to ensure Germans appreciate just how prosperous and peaceful their country is, and to induce vague feelings of survivor guilt about this fact. I surmise that the Third World Disaster Porn component of German public TV news may explain the result of the Ignorance Report.