The SF Chron won’t print the cartoons of the Phophet Muhammed that have triggered explosive riots in Europe and the Mideast, but the San Jose Mercury has — and now is apologizing for it. On Friday (Feb. 3), the Merc ran a picture of a German newspaper with one of the cartoons. On Saturday, the Merc said it was sorry but explained that the images are an important part of the story. Meanwhile, Chron editorial page editor John Dias told Reuters: “I don’t see it as a necessity to run them … There’s a lot of ways that we can gratuitously offend our readers. We want to avoid that.” However, the Chronicle’s internet partner, sfgate.com, printed a World Views blog by Edward M. Gomez on Wednesday (Feb. 1) that included one of the cartoons. Chronicle reporter Heidi Benson wrote about the media angle of the cartoon controversy today (Feb. 4). Benson and E&P Online both noted that Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor Anne Gordon critized the AP for not transmitting images of the cartoons on its wires. She said she understood the need to be sympathetic, but felt that each newspaper should make its own decision about whether to print the cartoons. “We have run an image of someone looking at a paper with the cartoon,” Gordon told E&P. “We feel strongly that if the story takes another turn, we are prepared to publish.”

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