When we get a press release or snippet of a press release which contains ANY links, we automatically delete almost all HREF tags. So if there is a keyword anchor text or company name it stands alone afterwards. If there was a w3 URL which was previously surrounded by an HREF it remains (without the AHREF tag) for the assistance of our readers to cut and paste into their browser if so inclined. Last I heard G has NOT decided to penalize those yet. The only exceptions are well established non-profit orgs which we use our discretion at leaving the HREFs around an address or official name. This also greatly reduces the chances of winding up 12 months from now with 50% no longer existing linked pages which have been deleted by the owner or a domain bought up by a spammer and converted to something it was not previously.
Getting back to the main topic, is G saying these kind of links hurt the linking site or the linked-to site or both?