Gov. Sarah Palin, who returned to work at the governor’s office in Anchorage Friday, called her critics “jerks” and said it was “immature” and “cowardly” for McCain staff members to be making anonymous allegations about her.

Ms. Palin spoke to reporters from several news organizations, including the Anchorage Daily News, defending herself from a slew of criticisms that have been aimed at her from unnamed McCain aides ever since the McCain-Palin ticket was defeated Tuesday.

She responded to a recent Fox News report that quoted anonymous McCain campaign staffers who said she did not know Africa was a continent, not a country, and could not name the three countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“If there are allegations based on questions or comments I made in debate prep about Nafta — about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there — then those were taken out of context. And that’s cruel, it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it taking things out of context, then tried to spread something on national news,” Ms. Palin said.

Asked whether she was sad about the way she was treated by the media, Ms. Palin said she wasn’t “sad at all,” but she was “disappointed in the change that I’ve seen in the national media compared to, you know, a couple of decades ago when I received my journalism degree.”

Ms. Palin indicated her role now would be to help Americans sort through the media. “I want to be able to help also Americans to know that they can trust their media.”

She said for the most part the media is good but “one bad apple sometimes does kind of spoil the whole bunch” and went on to say that during the campaign there had been some “stinkers that have kind of made the whole basket full of apples there once in a while smell kind of bad.”