The issue with Panda is that it tilts the playing field towards brands. This, along with predictive searches and Google-owned companies filling out search engine results, makes it much harder for newer sites to come in and gain traffic.
While it's good that scraping sites get heavily hit, what's not so good is that it will become very difficult for a future startup to gain a foothold in an existing industry. The likes of stackoverflow overtaking EE in a short time frame might become less in the future.
Much of Google search results is becoming useless with spam pollution, but at the same time, they have to be careful they don't just solidify searches around already 'knowns'. The true utility of search is turning up unexpected good results from time to time.
To your point, Demand Media now focuses primarily on putting their content on brand sites and rev-sharing. See traveltips.usatoday.com, for example. There's always someone working an angle to game Google.