How many links are you talking, and how would this effect your current back link profile? How new is your site? Sites less than a year old seem to have a harder time when it comes to inbound link penalties - probably because they just have lower trust rank, rather than it being a particular time thing..
Whether they hurt or help I think will depend on whether the links are seen as spam or not.
If its a network of article sites - then Id assume that google knows it is a network. Thats not necessarily a bad thing, but a point to consider when deciding if the backlinks will be seen as spam.
What is the reputation of the network? You could try browsing to a page within one of the sites and doing a search for its title keywords in google, see if it comes up...
Neither Frank Kern nor the guy from Traffic Geyser are SEOs so there isn't a need to listen to them on the subject.
I would spend at least week going through the Google posts, especially the pinned topics in the Google area. Tedster and PageOneResults are good to listen to. It will take you some time to get things back, but with the info here, you can't go wrong.