What she doesn't mention, however, is that Democrats are twice as likely to describe themselves as "conservative" as Republicans are to self-describe as "liberal". Independents, too, are 11% more likely to describe themselves as conservative than they are to self-describe as liberal. That more people affiliated with the nation's left-leaning party consider themselves to be on its right side than members of the right-leaning party say they're on its left gives credence to the assertion that the US is basically a "center-right" country. In querying respondents on their political ideology, the GSS data can easily be converted to a seven point scale, with 1 as the most liberal, 7 as the most conservative, and 4 representing the center. From the turn of the century, the US averages a 4.15.
Consequently, the major media descriptions are not as detached from the political reality 'on the ground' as might be assumed. The following graphs compare how the New York Times labelled members of the two major parties from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2006 to how people have self-labelled, by way of the GSS, over the same period of time (click on the following graphs for higher resolution).
The NYT is more fond of the adjective "moderate" than "conservative" or "liberal" when it comes to Republicans. Since the newspaper's focus is geographically skewed somewhat toward the Northeast, its reasonable to expect "liberal" to be used for Republicans at least as frequently as Republicans nationwide use it to describe themselves. So Coulter's accusation that the major media tends to label leftist Republicans as moderate has merit. On the other hand, Republicans are more likely to describe themselves as conservative than the NYT is to describe them that way.
Similarly, it is expected that the NYT would describe Democrats as "conservative" no more frequently (and presumably less so) than Democrats describe themselves as such. That the paper slightly overuses the adjective lends additional credence to Coulter's charge. The NYT's heavy use of "liberal" in describing Democrats, however, undercuts the assertion that it strives to make the left look like the center and the right look like the far right.
Constructing a simple scale, with +1 representing "conservative", 0 "moderate", and -1 "liberal", how the NYT describes the political landscape and how the public describes itself, by party affiliation:
Relative to how the public actually describes itself, the NYT portrays Democrats as considerably more liberal and conservatives as slightly more liberal than both groups portray themselves.
It's tough to ascertain how much of this is due to a geographical bias leading to left-leaning areas receiving more coverage, but if anything, the NYT appears not to be providing cover for leftists by portraying them as moderates, but instead goading them on by making note of (and thus in the eyes of many whiterpeople, celebrating) their leftism.