The allegations that have surfaced around her "preference" for a Tory-led government are risible from a public perspective, but they fit the Crosby-driven agenda of the times. Whether any remarks, nuanced or otherwise, were made to French diplomats (and this in itself is a matter of such conjecture that a reasonable person would imagine it to be some kind of Tory masturbatory fantasy) there is no credibility for the source. The Daily Telegraph and its less-rational sibling The Spectator stand to lose their already-shredded credibility as a consequence, as do their apologists.
There has already been an acreage of coverage which has not resulted in an upsurge in support for an alleged scoop. The asinine Fraser Nelson and a few similarly-gibbering Tory fellow-travellers resorted to a defence that it was a legitimate story, even if all sources denied it, on the same basis that the Scum justified its assaults on homosexuals, the people of Liverpool and foreigners under the reign of Kelvin MacKenzie in the 1980s. These people are at best hypocritical charlatans, but really just doing the dirty work of a discredited Tory party.
The Daily Telegraph and The Times are rapidly becoming fraudulent parodies of newspapers. As propaganda sheets they are parading respectability for what are repugnant opinions. Presenting this neo-conserative charlatanry as "news' may satisfy their proprietors' short-term cravings, but their credibility is shot permanently. At least the right-wing tabloids are blatant, if disgusting.
Given the decline in newspaper readership, and influence, this may be less damaging than it might have been thirty years ago. However, any group used to buying power and influence will play dirty while being marginalised.
Sturgeon and the SNP don't need to defend themselves - but this level of smearing will do the media no good. In the early 1980s Labour were seriously toying with significant interference in the freedom of the press - one of the more deranged products of Trotskyite infiltration. More attempted smears and lies will undermine the argument that, in the wake of the News International and Mirror Group scandals, press owners are seeking to amend their vileness. Unintended consequences may be undesirable for a much wider portion of the population than those deluded enough to believe what they're spoon-fed.