Shroud waving occurs when publicity seeking politicians or media celebrities aggressively insert themselves into a media headline event involving either a community tragedy resulting in death or the death of a well-liked public figure. The publicity seeker praises the dead or casts blame for the tragedy - and thus "waves the shroud".
It is important to note that the publicity seeker often has no personal relationship or connection with the deceased and is cynically exploiting or ambushing the media coverage present at the time for their advantage. The overall aims of shroud wavers are to gain media oxygen and to "position" themselves in the public eye as sensitive, caring and humanistic personalities.
Where the deceased was a keynote public figure, shroud waving becomes a form of ambush marketing
in the sense that the wavers seek to "wrap themselves in the shroud" and so take on some of that person's esteem, reputation and persona in the public imagination.
Self-evidently, shroud waving is meaningless and a waste of time without attendant media attention, photo opportunities, blog postings and studio interviews.
"In a blatant act of shroud waving, Senate hopeful Morton Aegis held a media conference on the porch at the family home of Jimmy Gibbs Junior, six times winner of NASCAR championships and decorated Vietnam War hero."