"Yes, that surprised me," Palin told O'Reilly. "I hadn't seen the '60 Minutes' thing. I had been warned, you know, don't watch. It's a bunch of BS from Schmidt and from some of those ..."
She denied Schmidt's claim that she was "in chaos preparing for the debate" with Sen. Joe Biden during the presidential campaign in 2008.
"That is not true. And Steve Schmidt told us how overjoyed he was after the debate, so pleased with the way everything turned out, as he was after the convention," Palin said.
Palin also spoke about the recent controversy surrounding Sen. Harry Reid's remarks that were published in a new book on the 2008 presidential campaign, "Game Change." The Nevada senator called then-Sen. Barack Obama a "light-skinned" African-American who did not have a "negro dialect unless he wanted to have one," according to the book.
Palin called Reid's comments "perplexing" and "unfortunate."
"You can't defend those comments. That way of thinking is quite foreign to, I think, most Americans today," Palin said, adding that she comes from a diverse state and that she is married to an Alaska native.
"I don't believe that he's a racist," Palin said of Reid. "But I don't believe that Trent Lott was a racist, either."
Republicans have called for Reid's resignation, citing the Democratic outcry in 2002 that led Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., to resign from his position as Senate majority leader, after he praised former senator and segregationist Strom Thurmond.
"That hypocrisy is another reason why so many Americans are quite disgusted with the political games that are played, really on both sides of the aisle, but in this case, on the left-wing," Palin said.
"That they are playing with this game of racism and kind of letting Harry Reid's comments slide, but having crucified Trent Lott for having essentially, along the same lines, saying the same."
The career change takes Palin back to her roots. She majored in journalism with a focus on broadcasting at the University of Idaho.
This is also her first job after stepping down as Alaska governor in July, and publishing her memoir, "Going Rogue." Palin's resignation as governor fueled speculation at the time that she was being offered a TV deal, but she dismissed that claim.
Palin has signed a multi-year deal with Fox, where she will offer political commentary and analysis on its cable news and business channels, Web site and its radio network. She also will host a new series about inspirational stories about Americans who have overcome adversity.
But Fox didn't just hire Palin for inspiration.
"You know, there's always that; that controversy that seems surrounding whatever it is that I announce that I do," she said.
Palin will appear next month at the first convention of the tea party group, a movement she has called "beautiful."
ABC News' David Chalian contributed to this report.