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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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December 10th, 2013
05:44 PM ET

Network anchors no-shows at Mandela memorial

(CNN) - Nelson Mandela's memorial was an historic farewell, complete with a phalanx of camera crews, celebrities and more than 100 world leaders, past and present.

But a notable no-show at Tuesday's memorial were two American network news anchors. Of the so-called "big three," only NBC's Brian Williams was on hand to witness history.

So was it a media snub, or just a sign of the times?

"The moves show how economics and a dwindling interest in international news are changing the biggest broadcast networks, where a decade ago there would have been little question that their most prominent faces would be on hand for such a big story," the AP reports.

CNN anchors Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Cuomo all made the trip. But this isn't about bragging rights, it's about the changing face of news.

"There was a time and an age when all three nightly news anchors would have been there. Where anchors go, attention follows," said CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter.

"I was pretty surprised to see Diane Sawyer of ABC and Scott Pelley of CBS now travel to South Africa for the memorial service, or the other services this week," said Stelter.

ABC and CBS representatives say it's a different time and a different age now, and it is better to have reporters who have covered Mandela for years in South Africa, and keep the anchors in studio, says Stelter.

"They say that this attitude that I"m expressing is kind of obsolete," said Stelter.

There is also little domestic interest for international news coverage. And there isn't the money - it is incredibly expensive to broadcast a show from South Africa.

For more analysis, check out the video above.

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