A news story that broke last month has divided Canadians and their media outlets. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government announced it would settle a lawsuit filed by Omar Khadr, a former prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, by paying Khadr $8m. Khadr was transferred to a Canadian prison in 2012 and released by the courts in 2015.

Canadians watching or reading conservative news outlets tended to come away outraged. Khadr, they were told, was a convicted "terrorist" - who had confessed, or so it seemed, to killing an American soldier in Afghanistan in a firefight between US forces and Taliban fighters, the details of which remain shrouded in the fog of war.

Omar Khadr is just an example of a larger divergence in narrative that's taken place throughout the entire media, between left and right, on the issue of what causes terrorism.

Jonathan Kay, journalist

Those exposed to a more liberal treatment of the story were informed Khadr was a child soldier, just 15 years old at the time of his alleged crime; that he had been held at Guantanamo illegally; that he had been tortured; that his confession, therefore, would not stand up in court and that he was more of a victim of the so-called "war on terror" than a participant.

"Omar Khadr is just an example of a larger divergence in narrative that's taken place throughout the entire media, between left and right, on the issue of what causes terrorism," says journalist Jonathan Kay.

"If you talk to people in the media depending on which side you're talking to, there's no real dialogue between those two sides of the media, because although the protagonist in each story is the same, the stories are completely divergent, but this has been the case since 9/11," says Kay.

In addition to the war of words over Khadr taking place on the Canadian airwaves, that left-right divide also exists at the political level - between supporters of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, which approved Khadr's multimillion-dollar payout and Conservatives, some of whom were part of the former government of ex-prime minister Stephen Harper, who fought to keep Khadr behind bars.

READ MORE: Guantanamo's Child - Omar Khadr

Conservative parliamentarians Michelle Rempel and Peter Kent took their complaints about the Khadr settlement to the US news media, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, which are both owned by Rupert Murdoch - using those platforms to provide simplified versions of a complex Canadian legal case to Americans.

"The strategy that the Conservative party is taking and leapfrogging the Canadian media and talking to Fox News, talking to the Wall Street Journal, trying to get the angriest sectors of the American media in a Trump era as heated and angry as possible is something we haven't seen in Canada yet," says Jesse Brown, host of Canadaland Podcast.

"It's going to have repercussions for Muslim people in Canada and I think it's going to have repercussions for the discourse in Canada."

Source: Al Jazeera