Oh I'm not saying people know who he is. I'm referring to people who have heard of him though.
That's one of the problems I have with him is his focus on America. His criticisms are actually more right than wrong. And he is right that we are not a moral nation in any sense of the word that I would want to aspire to personally (nor would most people I would hope).
But where he goes wrong is focusing so narrowly and rabidly on America and her allies. If you read him, you find that he also condemns other countries like Iran and Syria for the same abuses, or even more far reaching ones, but he does this more quietly, and far less often.
Maybe he feels that he needs to reserve all his emphasis and attention for America and the West, because we are the audience he is trying to reach and nobody else is really doing it, or at least nobody we will pay any attention to.
Maybe I'm being to kind in that theory.
At the end of the day, he does not treat his analysis of the US with the same leniency he treats non-western nations. If you read the essay above, note how he admonishes the media for their one-dimensional portrayal of Chavez:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died recently and was the object of mockery, insult, and hatred throughout the Western world, attended a session of the U.N. General Assembly a few years ago where he elicited all sorts of ridicule for calling George W. Bush a devil. He also gave a speech there that was quite interesting. Of course, Venezuela is a major oil producer. Oil is practically their whole gross domestic product. In that speech, he warned of the dangers of the overuse of fossil fuels and urged producer and consumer countries to get together and try to work out ways to reduce fossil fuel use. That was pretty amazing on the part of an oil producer. You know, he was part Indian, of indigenous background. Unlike the funny things he did, this aspect of his actions at the U.N. was never even reported.
Chomsky is guilty of that in spades in his writing about America. It isn't what he's saying about us (because a lot of his harshest criticism could not be more true), -it's what he isn't saying about us, and isn't saying about some of the nations he treats more fairly.
I don't like to go down the road of relativism that justifies any nation behaving any way it wants to, but his critiques are harmed by a sort of Reverse Exceptionalism. I wish he would conclude from his analysis that we are merely not exceptional and that there are zero to a few (if any) nations that deserve to be placed on a pedestal however small. We aren't the epitome of evil nor are we saints or honorable. Even a cursory glance at our history shows the most selfish motives for a lot of the 'good' excursions we have undertaken.