Is CNBC caving to its critics on the left?
It might appear so now that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, also the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, was officially named a CNBC contributor on the March 23 "Squawk Box" by co-host Joe Kernen.
"Joining us for the next two hours, former DNC chair and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who is as of today a CNBC contributor," Kernen said.
CNBC had also named Tony Fratto, a former Bush administration Deputy Press Secretary as a contributor to the chagrin of some on the left. Kernen remarked Dean's status as a contributor was an effort to show the network was "balanced."
"You are now a commentator governor," Kernen said. "And, I'm not saying we want you to tone it down necessarily, but actually we don't because this is cable, so you need to ratchet it up a little bit if you can."
The financial network has been the focal point of liberal criticism after CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli and "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer launched scathing criticisms on the Obama administration for its policies, and received direct attacks from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Dean had been guest host on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on other occasions, since stepping down as DNC chairman in January.The former Vermont governor was a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and was made famous by the "Dean scream" following a loss in the 2004 Iowa caucus. He was also endorsed by global warming activist, former Vice President Al Gore, in his 2004 bid.