He's a cunning linguist, but not a master debater. His only art is the half-truth, and his most ardent followers are those who can't handle (or recognize) the whole truth.
Thomas Wolf seemed to nail the essence of Noam in this quote,
❝ I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement... When Noam Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and, in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America’s leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others. ❞
It happens to a lot of great men in one field of study, that they (and others) assume they are great men in things they know nothing about. And if it fits progressive dogma (no matter how wrong it is), they'll be labelled intellectuals.